Royal Challengers Bangalore face KKR in Eliminator
The battle between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders intensifies when the two teams meet again in the Eliminator on Monday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
After a thrilling last-ball victory over the Delhi Capitals on Friday, the team is brimming with confidence. A win over the table-toppers, the Delhi Capitals, would have done wonders for the team's confidence heading into the playoffs. This year's campaign has been highlighted by the form of the middle-order, which includes KS Bharat and Glenn Maxwell. While Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli at the top have provided brisk starts on most occasions, the middle order has provided much-needed impetus towards the end.
The emergence of KS Bharat has been extremely encouraging. Apart from his skills with the gloves behind the stumps, the keeper-batter has demonstrated a wide range of batting abilities. Previously pigeonholed as a red-ball cricketer, Bharat's recent batting performances have conclusively demonstrated that he is a man for all formats.
The ‘Big Show' has emerged as one of the top performers in the IPL 2021. He has accumulated 498 runs in 13 innings, with an average of 45.27. More importantly, he has been at his lethal best in the middle overs, where he has amassed a whopping 318 runs. In the middle over phase, no other player has more runs than him. The statistics listed above attest to his brilliant batting performance for the Royal Challengers.
Another impressive aspect of his batting has been how well he has handled the spinners. Given the number of spinners Kolkata Knight Riders have at their disposal, the Australian all-rounder will look to continue his strong game against the spinners.
Interestingly, the likes of Bharat and Maxwell have taken a massive load off the shoulders of AB de Villiers. Though the Protea star has not contributed significantly with the bat in the second leg of the tournament, KKR will be wary of the threat. In an interview with Star Sports, the talismanic batter stated that he has been working extremely hard and is fully prepared for the playoff stage. “I'm feeling good, haven't had a lot of opportunities so far. I'm hitting the ball well. I'm working hard at the nets and am ready to come for the next matches.” AB said.
Coming to the bowling front, what has been the team's key to success after the powerplay phase of the game? The reason for this is the form of vastly improved Harshal Patel and the lynchpin of the bowling attack, Yuzvendra Chahal.
The latter has spun a web around the opposing batters, strangling them in the middle overs. With 11 wickets and an economy rate of 7.16, he is the second-highest wicket-taker in the middle overs (7-15).
Harshal Patel, on the other hand, has been at his imperial best. Thanks to the plethora of variations in his armoury, he has always kept the batters at bay. 21 of the total tally of his 30 wickets have come in the death overs. This demonstrates his significant impact in the closing overs, where the batters usually have the license to thrill. Needless to say, the 30-year-old has delivered under the pressure, and is also the leading wicket-taker in the death overs.
His compatriot, Mohammed Siraj, has been clinical with the ball towards the closing overs as well. There isn't much that can go wrong when you have three bowlers, who have dictated terms in the middle and death overs.
All in all, the team is fully geared up to face the nemesis Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday.
Venue statistical overview - Sharjah
Average 1st innings score - 152
Average 2nd innings score - 139
Date: Monday, 11 October
Time: 7:30 PM [IST]
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
RCB: Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pavan Deshpande, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Kyle Jamieson, Dan Christian, Suyesh Prabhudessai, KS Bharat, Tim David, Dushmantha Chameera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Akash Deep, George Garton.
KKR: Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Pawan Negi, Tim Seifert, Shakib al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, Tim Southee.