Mumbai, May 14 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals pacer Dhawal Kulkarni expressed confidence that his team can beat Kolkata Knight Riders riding on the momentum of registering three back-to-back victories in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Royals kept alive their play-off hopes by beating defending champions Mumbai Indians by seven wickets with two overs to spare on Sunday night.
The Ajinkya Rahane-led side will face two-time champions KKR at the Edens Gardens on Tuesday.
“All the games are crucial for us. Maybe, in the next game we’ve got a good chance to beat Kolkata Knight Riders. With the momentum that we’ve got, I’m sure we’ll be able to do that,” said Kulkarni at the post match press conference.
Royals moved up to fifth spot with 12 points in as many games following their third victory on the trot.
England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler continued his red hot form, smashing 94 in 53 balls, his second successive unconquered 90-plus score in the competition.
On the move to promote Buttler to the top of the order, Kulkarni said: “I think it was a collective decision of the captain, (head of cricket) Zubin (Bharucha), (mentor) Shane (Warne) and (batting coach) Amol (Muzumdar). So he is doing well for us and I hope he continues to be in that form for us.”
West Indian seamer Jofra Archer also contributed with early strikes in successive balls to dent Mumbai’s surge. He removed opener Suryakumar Yadav and skipper Rohit Sharma.
“I feel a bowler who’s bowling at 145 (kmph), it’s very difficult for a batsman to face that – especially with the way he bowls, the high arm action that he’s got. Wankhede’s wicket has got good bounce and good carry. He’s been bowling consistently well. But today it was special,” he said.
“The wicket assisted him really well. The way he was getting that bounce! I just wished that he got a hat-trick.”