Two teams with contrasting fortunes, quite literally, will face off with each other on Monday. The Royal Challengers Bangalore have as many wins as the Kolkata Knight Riders have losses, and as many losses as their opponents have wins. 20 matches ago, the former convincingly trumped their rivals by 38 runs in a clash that was held well in the ‘early days’ of the IPL.
Now, that stage is long gone, and the tournament has gathered competitive pace. The victory over KKR in match 10 was RCB’s third in the tournament. Ever since, Virat Kohli’s men have worn slight inconsistency, with their record reading WLWL. Despite two losses in the last four games, they find themselves well-settled in the Playoff race, sitting tied on points with two teams above them, and behind only on account of Net Run Rate.
For the Knight Riders, things have continued to go south, with performance dwindling each day, newer and tougher challenges emerging each time. A lackluster top-order, lack of intent with both bat and ball, big names misfiring in the middle-order, inability to score at the death, a World Cup-winning captain with diminishing returns with the bat, and questionable on-field tactics.
To speak of those, there are two to cite from these two sides’ meeting this year. Eoin Morgan inexplicably opted to take Varun Chakravarthy out of the attack when he had removed both Virat Kohli and Rajat Patidar in the powerplay. By the time he was brought back, Glenn Maxwell had already switched on the beast mode gear in his batting drive.
More eyebrows raised when Morgan threw the ball in the penultimate over to Harbhajan Singh against AB de Villiers and Kyle Jamieson, with the former well-set. The result? 18 crucial runs on the slow Chepauk surface in the penultimate over. The ploy to keep Andre Russell at the death backfired too, with him leaking 39 in a wicket-less two-over spell, belted all over by de Villiers. Having withstood blows from two destructors, de Villiers and Maxwell, KKR was far from being competitive with the bat and fell well short in a chase of 205.
It is no surprise that they have hardly found themselves in the desirable column of the table, and sit at sixth currently, tied on points with a team below them but separated by Net Run Rate.
Meanwhile, RCB is fresh from a Harpreet Brar assault in a game they lost by 34 runs to Punjab Kings. Let the margin of loss not dupe yourself because it was thanks to Harshal Patel’s counterattack that a much worse, NRR-denting loss was evaded. 96/7 in 16 overs chasing 180, Patel’s 13-ball 31 rescued, but RCB’s starry order looked pale at best against an undiscovered talent from the hinterlands of Punjab.
In both their defeats (69 runs vs CSK, 34 vs PBKS) this year, RCB has rather collapsed to a loss than losing by inches. With the kind of ammunition they possess, that is fair because even one in Kohli, Maxwell, or de Villiers staying till the end means victory guaranteed. KKR needs two points desperately and the task is uphill, but if they can somehow successfully manage to deal with this superstar trio, the remaining things might take care of their own.
Pitch and conditions
Prithvi Shaw showed that quite a few times, a batsman can make a pitch look the way he likes. The same track that appeared two-paced during KKR’s attempt against them seemingly eased out during DC’s chase. While all the was a combination of a slight bit of dew, erring lengths of KKR bowlers, and pure brilliance of Shaw, that KKR failed to apply themselves cannot be denied. That is what it will once again come down to in Ahmedabad. The surface has enough runs on offer, it is for the batsmen to take them.
Playing combination for KKR vs RCB
Kolkata Knight Riders
Unlikely to change.
Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (C), Sunil Narine, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The skipper has shown faith in Rajat Patidar’s abilities, which might lead him to hold his spot. But RCB might be tempted to give a look-in to Washington Sundar to counter KKR’s left-handers.
Predicted XI: Virat Kohli (C), Devdutt Padikkal, Rajat Patidar/Washington Sundar, AB de Villiers (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
KKR vs RCB Head to Head
Played – 27 | Royal Challengers Bangalore – 13 | Kolkata Knight Riders – 14
KKR vs RCB Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 7:30 PM IST
TV – Star Sports Network
Live Streaming – Disney+Hotstar
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