Royal Challengers Bangalore are all but out from the race of making it to the playoffs in the ongoing season of Indian Premier League. The Virat Kohli-led side has lost their first seven out of eight games and desperately need a win to renew some hopes of making it through to the playoffs. Luckily, for Kohli, their next opponent will be Kolkata Knight Riders, who will be riding low on confidence after slipping from 2nd to 6th position following three straight defeats.
KKR need to win at least four of their next six games in order to confirm a spot in the playoffs, and the upcoming encounter against RCB will be as important for them, as it will be for the visitors.
There are plenty of woes for KKR going into the fixture, though. Andre Russell has suffered a shoulder injury during a training session and he could not be included in the playing XI. The West Indies’ batsman has already been unfit for the past week, suffering a shoulder sprain, and failed to get runs on the board in the previous match against Chennai Super Kings.
Russell’s early dismissal saw KKR not being able to get runs in the death overs, thus exposing their over-reliance on the allrounder. If Russell is declared unfit to play, RCB will have an unexpected advantage.
Struggle of seamers
This is a battle from a different perspective – which team’s pacers will prove to be more expensive. RCB have relied on Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj, who has not been among the wicket-takers and have given away too many runs While Yadav has given away runs at an economy of 9.26 and just taken 2 wickets in 6 games, Siraj has given away runs at an economy rate of 9.55 and taken 7 wickets in 8 games.
RCB have replaced injured Nathan Coulter-Nile with veteran South African pacer Dale Steyn and would hope that he can revitalise their fast bowling attack.
KKR bowling struggles
RCB are not the only team with bowling struggles this season. KKR’s spin trio of Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Chahal, and Piyush Chawla have struggled in batting pitches at Eden Gardens this season, while the pace attack under Lockie Ferguson and Prasidh Krishna has lacked quality.
Harry Gurney has provided some relief, but the youngster showed his inexperience in the previous game against CSK when he was hammered for three consecutive boundaries by CSK’s Ravindra Jadeja in the previous game.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, Matt Kelly, KC Cariappa and Yarra Prithviraj.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (capt), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Moeen Ali, Shimron Hetmyer, Dale Steyn, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Devdutt Padikkal, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Heinrich Klaasen, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Akshdeep Nath, Prayas Ray Barman, Kulwant Khejroliya, Tim Southee.