RCB Face KKR With Their Backs Against The Wall
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Time: 4 PM IST
The Eden Gardens has been the stronghold of the Kolkata Knight Riders for a long time. The pitch there is tailor made for the way they play the match. With no shortage of quality spinners in their lineup and a tinge of green, all the bowlers get an opportunity to have their say. Stroke making is good on the pitch once the batsmen get in with the grass holding a dry pitch together.
Head To Head:
KKR and RCB have played against each other 13 times and the win column just nudges to KKR with 7 wins. At Eden Gardens, the hosts have a better track record with 3 of the 4 matches going in their favour.
In their previous encounter this season, Chris Lynn’s superb catch to send back AB de Villiers saw KKR steal a win to pull the rug from under RCB’s feet in the UAE, putting RCB on a slide that saw them lose two more games on the trot. RCB would be hoping to get back at them and spoil their party, while also keeping their own playoff chances alive.
KKR played their first match at home against CSK last time and showed just what home support can do. They demolished CSK with their brilliant team display. Robin Uthappa was brilliant yet again, scoring a half century at the top of the order to lay the platform for chasing 154. Shakib Al Hasan finished the game off with his skillful batting to give KKR the win with 2 overs to spare.
In a virtually must win match for both teams, RCB failed to deliver the goods when they faced SRH at Hyderabad. Chris Gayle who is in the side to provide early momentum, did quite the contrary by eating up dot balls and not really scoring much. Virat Kohli came good with his first half century of the season and his effort took RCB to a respectable score of 160. The match was truly lost when SRH did not lose a single wicket until the 13th over. Half their work was already done and the batsmen to follow finished the game off without much trouble.
Preview Of The Teams:
KKR have been in good form off late and seem to be on the track for a playoff spot. With only home games to play from here, the win is surely in their sails. The opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa has been brilliant with Uthappa in prime form being the 2nd highest run-scorer in the tournament so far. In Shakib Al Hasan, KKR have the perfect all rounder to balance the squad with his left arm spin and adaptable batting. Sunil Narine has been the hub of their bowling attack with plenty of able support from others like Piyush Chawla and Umesh Yadav. KKR’s bench strength is good as Pat Cummins showed on his IPL debut. With all the facets of the line up working well, KKR look a formidable side.
RCB desperately need to win this match. If they don’t, then they are completely out of the running for the coveted playoff spot and this very fact may motivate them to push on. Chris Gayle has not been able to get RCB the blazing starts that we are so accustomed to. Virat Kohli finally came good in the previous match and AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh have mostly been good throughout. Yuzvendra Chahal and Mitchell Starc have been their most consistent performers with the ball by picking wickets and also not giving away too many runs. Varun Aaron has also picked up the most wickets for RCB this season, but he has also leaked runs at times when restricting the opponent is the need of the over.
Robin Uthappa was in top form in the domestic season, and he has carried on in the IPL for KKR. Scoring over 40 in almost all his innings, Uthappa is someone who KKR rely on to give them a good start with the bat. Shakib Al Hasan has also been a vital cog in the wheel by contributing heavily in all 3 departments. The fact that he is a brilliant team player gives him some more brownie points. Umesh Yadav after having an ordinary start to the competition has finally started delivering, and has been on the money with his pace and accuracy.
RCB heavily rely on Virat Kohli to steer and give direction to the innings from the top of the order. Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers have been the top run getters for RCB this season and the middle order and the flourish in the end depends on how these 2 go. As mentioned earlier, Mitchell Starc has been the spearhead of the bowling attack with his pace and swing. He does not leak too many runs and also picks up a few wickets in every match. With Yuzvendra Chahal providing some superb leg breaks and googlies, there is definitely some variety in the bowling attack.