Rain shadows clash at the Eden Gardens
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Saturday, April 28th 8 pm
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Their momentum stymied by wash outs at their respective home grounds, the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders will meet at the latter’s home ground in Kolkata on Saturday night.
KKR have failed to maintain a consistency this season, dominant wins following docile displays and just when they looked good to string a winning run of three games, rain washed out a game against the underperforming DC at the Eden Gardens.
RCB on the other hand are clearly in the ascendancy having clinched three remarkable wins against Pune Warriors, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals, the first of those off the last ball and the other two away from home. Rain washed out a tough game against CSK at home but KKR are no easy opponents on their turf.
The biggest threat however is still rain. A wet spell is the forecast weather for Saturday and it could see the teams sit through a second consecutive washout.
Chris Gayle got off the plane and smacked a ton in his first game last year against his former team. He will once again hold the key to RCB’s fortunes, the pressure from Virat Kohli’s poor patch mitigated by the blazing form of AB de Villiers and the dependency of Tillakaratne Dilshan. Mayank Agarwal has provided useful cameos but the expectations for him, Saurabh Tiwary and Kohli will remain more substantial innings.
The bowling has improved remarkably although they have had the cushion of big scores to defend, the low scoring pitch at the Eden Gardens could both assist and test them. Daniel Vettori’s possible unavailability due to injury could see Muralitharan pip McDonald for a place in the squad considering the brilliant hauls of KKR’s offspinner Sunil Narine at the ground. KP Appanna’s 4 wicket haul against Rajasthan should earn him a spot for this game.
KKR’s bowlers have been wonderful at the Eden bar one rain affected game against a rampaging Delhi line up. They’ve kept the opposition to below 140 but have been let down by their misfiring batsmen. They were exceptionally metronomic against RCB at the Chinnaswamy as well and the batsmen will do well to look out for hostile spells from Lee, Kallis and Balaji upfront before tackling Narine, Rajat Bhatia and Yusuf Pathan later.
KKR’s batting revolves around Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary while Manvinder Bisla has been their surprise package. Kallis hasn’t been consistent but Pathan and Brendon McCullum have been horrid. Still they are dangerous T20 batsmen and will provide a big challenge for the RCB bowlers. Vinay, Zaheer and Harshal don’t have too many wickets and will want to make the best on a supportive pitch.
RCB has done enough to prove that they have the pedigree to come back from initial hiccups to become a top four side. A CSK win in the afternoon and a win over Kolkata could mean that RCB could move to 3rd in the table. A CSK loss however could give them chance to go to 2nd if they win tomorrow, knocking KKR down the points table as well. That should be incentive enough for the team to do their best and consolidate their campaign.