The Royal Challengers are lingering towards the bottom of the table having secured only 2 wins in 6 matches. They need to continue their winning form from the previous match to have a chance of qualifying for the playoffs this season. The Kolkata Knight Riders are on the 2nd position and have had a brilliant season so far losing just 2 matches out of 4. They would love to forget the last night when Gujarat ran over them and get back into the groove. All said and done, it would be a thrilling contest between two power packed sides. Match Preview and Predictions : The Knights host the Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Eden Gardens pitch has been bouncy and green helping the seamers. The spinners have also gotten some purchase from the surface. In the previous match, the track was very batting friendly and a score of 185+ was chased down easily. So we can expect a balanced pitch which would keep everyone interested.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE – STRENGTHS
The Royal Challengers would be bolstered by their performance in the previous match when Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli both got going and notched up brilliant half-centuries. They formed another 100+ opening partnership and would be hoping for the same again. AB de Villiers is expected to be back according to a statement by Sreenath Aravind. This could further boost the RCB batting. Kedar Jadhav can strike the ball long and far and he has already shown what he is capable of doing. Hence, RCB’s top 4 looks settled. In the bowling department, Badree is also expected to be fit and may be a threat on Eden Gardens. Chahal has already shown his immense talent. Tymal Mills may also be back for tonight’s high octane clash. Sreenath Aravind has been impressive too and the RCB should be happy with their team.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE – CONCERNS
RCB would need to sort out the middle-order issue wherein Mandeep Singh, Pawan Negi and Stuart Binny have not been performing at the desired level. In case KKR manage to snap up 2-3 quick wickets, RCB may be found wanting. There has been too much chopping and changing in the RCB camp and they have looked far from a settled unit mainly due to multiple injuries to their star players. The bowling attack may see a couple of changes for tomorrow and Shane Watson would have to miss out so that Badree and Mills can both play.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – STRENGTHS
KKR may have faltered a bit two nights back but they would be raring to go win the match tonight. Gautam Gambhir and Sunil Narine are expected to open the innings with Narine looking to give them an explosive start yet again. Gambhir has been in good form and has also held the Orange Cap for a while. Robin Uthappa has also been in splendid form notching up a couple of 65+ scores already at the Eden Gardens. Manish Pandey has been in scintillating form scoring runs at will. He also held the orange Cap for a while and has three 50+ scores this season. Yusuf Pathan has impressed in the few chances he has received. The KKR bowling is one of the best in the tournament with Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Shakib al Hasan forming a dangerous trio. Umesh Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Chris Woakes complete the lethal pace attack which can crumble the best of lineups on any given day.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – CONCERNS
Gambhir’s men need to beef up their fielding as soon as possible. Some paltry efforts on the field especially by Sunil Narine and Surya Kumar Yadav have cost the Knight Riders dearly. The form of Surya Kumar Yadav has been very disappointing and the time may have come to replace him with a sturdy in-form batsman, Ishank Jaggi. Chris Woakes has been pretty expensive and would need to stop leaking too many runs. Umesh Yadav also needs to bowl sensibly. The leg spin of Badree and Chahal may be the defining factor of the match and KKR should play these 2 bowlers in a safe manner as KKR possess a number of right-handed batsmen. Shakib should be given more opportunities as he can be a match winner on his day.
RCB – Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Pawan Negi, Stuart Binny, Tymal Mills, Yuzuvendra Chahal, Samuel Badree, Sreenath Aravind.
KKR – Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib al Hasan, Surya Kumar Yadav, Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav.
WATCH OUT FOR
RCB – Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Samuel Badree
KKR – Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir, Manish Pandey, Nathan Coulter-Nile
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 18, RCB won – 9, KKR won – 9
In Kolkata: Played – 7, RCB won – 3, KKR won – 4
CONCLUSION AND MATCH PREDICTION
The KKR and RCB have been fierce competitors over the years and the contest between them has always been one of the highest quality. It all started when McCullum scored 158 in the first ever IPL match 10 years back. We would be expecting a similar thrilling match at the iconic Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata. Both the teams love to chase and would hope that the toss goes in their favour. Our predictions are as follows.
TOSS – RCB wins and opts to field.
1ST INNINGS SCORE – 185-195
MATCH – RCB win by 5-7 wickets.
TOSS – KKR wins and opts to field.
1ST INNINGS SCORE – 190-200
MATCH – KKR win by 5-7 wickets.