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RCB take on the men in purple at the Chinnaswamy today. Kohli's troops have played boldly but weren't able to cross the finish line the last time. This time at their happy hunting ground, the boys in Red and Black will aim to cross the final hurdle!
The Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders have faced each other on 16 occasions so far in the IPL with both teams winning 8 matches each. Both teams have slipped to a few losses and will look to rejuvenate when they face each other in a quest to make a comeback in the league. Let's take a look at how both the teams look like ahead of the mega Monday encounter.
From the RCB dugout
The Royal Challengers Bangalore unit looks a little unsure about their combinations. A lot of options have been tried and the optimum mix is yet to be concocted. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli opened the batting for RCB against SRH and gave them a quick start. If Chris Gayle returns to the squad, there will be a change in the batting positions and Rahul might have to go back to the middle order. AB de Villiers looks set at number 3 with Shane Watson to follow.
Watto ran himself out against SRH and will be eager to prove a point at the Chinnaswamy. In the lower middle order, there will be a tussle for the remaining 2 batting slots between Sachin Baby who did a decent job, hard hitting batsman Kedar Jadhav and the cheeky yet effective Sarfaraz Khan.
RCB have tried four spinners in Parvez Rasool, Iqbal Abdulla, Yuzvendra Chahal and Tabraiz Shamsi. All have picked up wickets but have gone for a few runs in the past. With the KKR batting unit having a mix of right and left handers, Shamsi and Chahal look to be the perfect two spinners to feature in the eleven.
The Indian pace bowlers need to step up. A lot will be expected of Varun Aaron, who bowled decently in the last match. Harshal Patel has been pretty expensive. Sreenath Aravind or Abu Nechim may take his place in the eleven. Kane Richardson might have to sit out if Chris Gayle makes it to the playing eleven. In such a situation, Kohli would play with 2 spinners and include another Indian seamer. Chris Jordan can also be an option in place of Tabraiz Shamsi.
From the KKR dugout
The Kolkata Knight Riders have lost two successive matches to the Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils heading into the clash against RCB. The team has a settled Indian combination but has struggled to find the right overseas balance. Andre Russell is a key member along with Sunil Narine. The other 2 spots have been shared by either Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Colin Munro or Brad Hogg. The opening pair looks set with skipper Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa getting runs.
In the absence of Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav did a decent job at number 3. But KKR tried to play Shakib and Piyush Chawla in the crucial position during their last two games and the decision backfired. Yusuf Pathan has looked in form and has been smashing the ball a long way. Rajagopal Sathish has shown his appetite for long shots and bowls useful slow medium pace.
The bowling looks well settled with Umesh Yadav picking up wickets along with Andre Russell. Piyush Chawla has contributed well with the ball and comes in handy with the bat too. RCB will look to attack Sunil Narine to ensure he doesn't dictate terms.
Our Bold trump card
Mr. 360, AB de Villiers has been piling runs consistently for us in this season's. A lot will depend on him as he comes out to bat against KKR. He loves playing at the Chinnaswamy and is known to clear the boundary easily. He scored a sublime 82 in the first match at the Chinnaswamy and will look to help his side return to winning ways with his willow.
Once AB gets into his groove, there's no stopping him. His ability to up the ante while batting first and to absorb the pressure while chasing makes him our bold trump card to watch out for!