The IPL for the first time had to be played across two phases. Kolkata Knight Riders will look horns against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Abu Dhabi. RCB came out on top in the first meeting when these two teams locked horns in Chennai. Their fortunes have been contrasting too. KKR are languishing in the bottom half of the table at 7th position. RCB on the other hand are better placed at number 3 in the points table. It promises to be an intriguing clash, lets discuss more about KKR vs RCB.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Form
It will be an understatement to say that Kolkata Knight Riders are struggling. For the second straight IPL, KKR are unsure of their combination. The players whom they trusted have failed to repay the faith. Their top-order has been far too conservative. It has cost them many games. KKR head coach, Brendon McCullum, had asked his players to play fearlessly. It will be interesting to see the team’s approach in the 2nd half of the IPL.
While it’s true that KKR players haven’t responded well but the blame is to equally shared by Eoin Morgan. He has looked a pale shadow of himself while captaining the side. Morgan certainly has to shoulder more responsibility heading into phase 2. The absence of Pat Cummins will further peg KKR back. His replacement, Tim Southee, though a great swing bowler isn’t near the same class as Cummins. KKR are looking towards a huge slope upwards. Their intent in the game against RCB will surely be on everyone’s radar.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Form
Royal Challengers Bangalore started the tournament in the best possible way. They were the only team who won their first 4 games this season. RCB posted thrilling wins over MI and SRH in their first two games. They comfortably defeated KKR in their third game. RCB found new heroes in every game.
RCB annihilated RR at Mumbai. But it all came unstuck against CSK. Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round brilliance toppled RCB. RCB put on a stellar show and notched a thrilling win over DC. They soon flattered to deceive against PK. But RCB have made some smart replacements during the offseason. The signings of Wanindu Hasaranga, Tim David, and Dushmantha Chameera is sure to bolster the squad. RCB look like a champion team on paper. Can they finally replicate it on the field? The answer to this question may well be answered in the first game of the UAE leg itself.
KKR vs RCB: Favourites?
KKR are yet to find the right combination. They are yet to play the perfect game this season. KKR need to pay heed to their coach’s aggressive batting manual. If they don’t address their tipping issues quickly in UAE, it might be curtains for them.
RCB ended the first half of the campaign losing 2 of their last 3 games. CSK and PK exposed their weak links. RCB will want to present a better account of themselves heading into the UAE leg. They currently occupy the 3rd spot. RCB will want to stamp their authority soon in the desert.
Which players will be match-winners in this game?
Andre Russell has a proven track against RCB. KKR will be hoping for a Russell special.
Wanindu Hasaranga has had a golden run in T20Is lately. He can make some decisive blows against a vulnerable KKR batting lineup.
KKR will be keen to use Sunil Narine more effectively against RCB. He might even open the innings for KKR.
Devdutt Padikkal has a big season ahead of him. A special knock will work wonders for him.
Probable Playing XI:
Kolkata Knight Riders predicted XI:
Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Tim Southee, Prasidh Krishna, Kamlesh Nagarkoti/Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy
Royal Challengers Bangalore predicted XI:
Devdutt Padikkal, Mohammad Azharuddeen/Srikar Bharat, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby/ Shahbaz Ahmed, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kyle Jamieson, Mohammad Siraj, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal
What do stats say about KKR vs RCB?
RCB and KKR have played 27 IPL games against each other.
RCB has won 13 matches. KKR has won 14 games.
KKR’s highest score against RCB is 222. RCB’s highest score against KKR is 213.
KKR’s lowest score against RCB is 84. RCB’s lowest score against KKR is 49.
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium has long square boundaries. Spinners will enjoy these long boundaries. There will be something in it for the pacers too. Batsmen can count on the true bounce of the surface.
A high of 38 degrees and a low of 32 degrees is expected. There are no chances of rain. Dew might play a big factor and teams will prefer to chase under such weather conditions.
A total of 47 matches has been played at this venue. Teams batting first have won 22 games while chasing teams have won 25. The average scoring batting first at this venue is 140. While the average 2nd innings score is 129. Anything above 165 will be a par score.
It is a battle between KKR’s tenacity and RCB’s resolve. We believe RCB holds an edge in this game.