Kolkata Knight Riders are all set to resume their Indian Premier League journey by taking on third-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. With just four points in their bag, Eoin Morgan’s KKR are currently at the seventh position and they would need to set the ball rolling right from the first match if they hope to qualify for the playoffs. Royal Challengers Bangalore, meanwhile with 10 points from seven games sit comfortably in the top half of the table but a winning start never hurts.
Last time these two teams met, Virat Kohli’s men beat KKR by 28 runs. However, a lot has changed in last few months for RCB; The Bengaluru-based franchise has been forced to change as many as four players. Adam Zampa, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson and Finn Allen are all out, and they have been replaced by Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, George Garton and Tim David. Their coach Simon Katich also stepped down due to personal reasons and Mike Hesson took over the reins, in addition to his current role of Director of Cricket Operations, RCB.
Kolkata Knight Riders themselves lost their highest wicket-taker of the season Pat Cummins and have replaced him with Tim Southee.
Last year when RCB played in the UAE, they just managed to qualify for the playoffs – based on net run rate. So, when the season resumes, they would hope for a much better outing and book their place in the knockouts in a much more relaxed manner.
KKR leads in head-to-head record against RCB, winning 18 and losing 13 out of 28 fixtures played between the two sides.
KKR would be Subhman Gill and Nitin Rana find their form in the UAE leg of IPL 2021. Captain Eoin Morgan would also need to let his bat do the talking and lead from the front. Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Rahul Tripathy and Shakib Al Hasan too need to come good for the Kolkata-based side.
Meanwhile, Time Southee will be heading KKR’s pace bowling attack.
As for RCB, Glenn Maxwell (223 runs from 7 games) and AB de Villiers (207 runs from 7) are leading the run scorers chart. Skipper Virat Kohli with 198 runs is having a disappointing outing so far, by his own standards.
On the bowling front, Mohammed Siraj and Kiwi Kyle Jamieson would lead the attack which also has Harshal Patel, Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal. The additions of Sri Lanka duo of Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera should also hold the team in good stead.
KKR PROBABLE PLAYING XI: Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Mohammad Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
RCB PROBABLE PLAYING XI: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Shakib al Hasan, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna, Tim Southee, Sandeep Warrier