When they meet a resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday at Sharjah, Kolkata Knight Riders will look to put their best foot forward.
Where has the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) been shopping for luck? With four wins in six matches, the KKR has managed to pull off two heists in succession in the week gone by and are positioned at number three in the table.
Despite an ebbing and flowing ride, KKR seems to have found their best eleven of late. This was despite Dinesh Karthik – who copped up a lot of criticism recently – not getting into the best of forms, Kuldeep Yadav missing out, and Sunil Narine not being at his best.
Although, barring Kuldeep’s presence, the other two issues were solved for the Riders in the last encounter against Kings XI Punjab, who inexplicably blew it again after they had it under control. Shubman Gill’s vital and patient half-century (57 from 47) had set the tone for the middle-order that had to follow for KKR. A valiant and come-from-behind blinder (58 from 29) from skipper Karthik’s bat led the team to score a modest total.
Only three days prior to this encounter, KKR had risen from the dead against CSK to snatch a 10-run victory from the jaws of defeat. Against the KXIP too, the loss looked imminent when openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul added 115 for the first wicket in a 165-run chase.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, Prasidh Krishna and Sunil Narine turned the match to their team’s favor miraculously, to see their opponents landing short by a thin and heart-wrenching margin of 2 runs.
Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have sandwiched a 59-run loss against Delhi Capitals (DC) between 8-wicket and 37-run victory over Rajasthan Royals (RR) and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) respectively.
After making a lean start with the bat, Kohli has contributed with the bat immensely in all three games and went onto bag the Player of the Match award in the last game, for his unbeaten 90 from 52, courtesy which RCB that was struggling till the 15th over, reached to a competitive total of 169 for 4.
Coming out to defend a genuine total, Chris Morris, who was playing the first game this edition, and spinner Washington Sundar, trapped the CSK’s batting order in the chase, and the target proved to 37 runs too many for the Men in Yellow eventually. When they meet a resurgent RCB on Monday at Sharjah, KKR will look to put their best foot forward rather than relying on the luck that has indeed been favouring them since the last two games.
Pitch and conditions
The track at Sharjah has proven to be a graveyard for the bowler so far. However, the run-fest template saw a change in the clash between Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals, where for the first time in this edition, the team batting first did not cross the 200-run mark.
Even during the 185-run chase, the pitch appeared to be slightly two-paced as the odd ball was stopping and the Royals did not look at ease during the chase. If the last couple of games are any indicator, the bowlers can feel a bit relieved.
Playing Combinations for RCB vs KKR
Royal Challengers Bangalore Probable 11
Aaron Finch was nicely set up by Deepak Chahar in the last game and he was knocked over by the pacer cheaply. Devdutt Padikkal scored decently, but he appeared to be slightly rusty and found the going to be difficult before losing his wicket.
Skipper Kohli, who was well supported by Shivam Dube in the last game, is amongst the runs, although his mate AB de Villiers has had a couple of forgettable outings recently. With the addition of Chris Morris in their ranks, the RCB setup is looking a lot healthier.
Probable 11- Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Chris Morris, Isuru Udana, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal
Kolkata Knight Riders Probable 11
After two impactful knocks, Rahul Tripathi missed getting in the flow in the last game, much like Nitish Rana. Although, youngster Shubman Gill rose to the occasion extremely well and guided the team through a balanced knock. The highlighting feature of KKR’s outing was skipper Karthik smacking the leather mercilessly and shutting up his critics with a bang.
The damage done by Russell to his knee will certainly be a cause of worry for the team as he happens to be a key member of the team. The two men responsible for bringing KKR back in the game – Sunil Narine and Prasidh Krishna – will pick themselves alongside pacers Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, and the young leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy.
Probable 11- Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik (C & WK), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
RCB vs KKR Head to Head
Played- 25 | KKR won- 15 | RCB won- 10 | NR- 0
Match Timings- 7:30 PM (IST), 6:00 PM (Local).
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