When the two sides last played each other, Kolkata Knightriders were bowled out for a meagre 131 only to come back and return the favour for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, except the Bangalore side was done for 49 runs, the lowest total ever in IPL history. As they clash at the Chinnaswamy today, the ghosts of this loss will come back to haunt the Kohli-led side, and at a time when their confidence is at an all time low having gone without winning a game for six consecutive matches. Kolkata Knightriders will look to take advantage of this shaky confidence, as they look to qualify for the playoffs with minimum fuss- they need to win two of their last three games to get to the magic number of 16. The KKR team, at the top of the points table last week, have since slipped to third position with 14 points from 11 games. More importantly, they have lost their last two games against the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Sunrisers Hyderabad, and have lost all momentum going into the final stretch of the league matches. Newbie batsman Rahul Tripathi of RPS played a match-winning innings of 93 to keep KKR from victory after they were restricted to 155 for eight.
For Bangalore, it is their out-of-form batsmen who are the biggest worry, with skipper Kohli, Gayle and de Villiers failing match after match. Kedar Jadhav has also been inconsistent after having a good outings for India this year against England and Australia. The fringe India players like Mandeep Singh, Stuart Binny also have let down the popular franchise. The only silver lining for RCB has been the performance of their two leg-spinners spinners – Samuel Badree (9 wickets) and Yuzvendra Chahal (13 wickets).
Kolkata have banked on their opening trio of Sunil Narine,whose hit and miss approach has worked well in some games, Uthappa and Gambhir. Uthappa and Gambhir have capitalised on starts provided by Narine, and in matches where he has failed to fire, it has been some trouble. With the lower order batsmen like Yusuf Pathan and Sheldon Jackson woefully out of form, youngsters like Ishan Jaggi might get a look in. On the bowling front, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav will play important roles with the ball given the 4pm start and the slow surface one is likely to encounter.
KKR go into the match in a “win-at-all-costs” mode, while RCB will look to end their disappointing campaign on some kind of winning note. The last match will also provide an interesting setting to today’s clash, as the RCB side led by the proud Kohli will look to avenge their humiliation at the hands of the Kolkata side before the tournament ends for them.
07 May 2017, 1600 Hrs IST
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Head to Head
Overall: Matches played – 19, RCB Won – 9, KKR Won – 10.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Gautam Gambhir (C), Darren Bravo, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (WK), Umesh Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Piyush Chawla, Nathan Coulter Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, Rishi Dhawan, Sayan Ghosh, Shaikb Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Ishank Jaggi, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Woakes, Chris Lynn, Manish Pandey.
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Vishnu Vinod, Sreenath Arvind, Kedar Jadhav (WK), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tymal Mills, Aniket Chaudhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake
- The bowlers on both sides – RCB and KKR – had a ball when the two teams came up against each other in Match 27 earlier this season KKR were bowled out for 131, while in their run-chase RCB were bowled out for 49 – the lowest total in the IPL. Expect a similar bowler-dominated match today.
- The last time these two teams came up against each other, Nathan Coulter-Nile dismissed Virat Kohli for a first-ball duck. If they face off again, will the RCB captain be able to settle scores in the return fixture?
- The one player to watch out for in the RCB side is Pawan Negi, who has found his bearings with the ball and bat both – he is one of only four players in this IPL to take more than 10 wickets and score more than 100 runs. He will be important cog in the scheme of things if KKR are to stage a coup and defeat the KKR today.