Both Kolkata and Rajasthan are on 12 points from the same number of outings and have two more matches to play before the knockouts stages.
Besides having the home advantage, KKR will also start as favourites against depleted Royals who made the playoffs.
Sans the services of in-form England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and fellow all-rounder Ben Stokes, Rajasthan got past Royal Challengers Bangalore in a must-win last league engagement to make it to the knockouts.
Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell had revived KKR with their magnificent batting.
Karthik continued to lead them to safety with a 38-ball 52, containing four fours and two sixes while Russell came up with his destructive 29-ball unbeaten 49, studded with three boundaries and five sixes to propel the side to a fighting total.
Royals began their chase in right earnest with Rahane (46 off 41) and Rahul Tripathi (20) adding 47 runs for the first wicket. Sanju Samson played a smart inning of 50 runs from 38 balls but leg-spinner Piyush Chawla removed Tripathi and Samson to tilt the match in the
Rahane batted too slow, playing a lot of dot balls, and the asking run rate increased. When Rahane departed it was tough to ask for the batsmen at the crease. Rahane got 22 runs from five boundaries but consumed 36 balls for remaining 24 runs.
Kuldeep foxed the Rajasthan skipper with a
The Rajasthan middle order batsmen as Kolkata reigned supreme at the death to advance to Qualifier Two for the second time in as many seasons.
For KKR, a five-wicket triumph over Sunrisers Hyderabad ensured they finished third in the table.
Kolkata will face Hyderabad in the virtual semifinal round here on May 25.