Bengaluru: The Royal Challengers Bangalore will be desperate to get their sinking campaign back on track when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL clash at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Monday.
Both RCB and Knights head into the match recording defeats, but two-time champion KKR will start as the stronger side, boasting of a well-balanced team. Looking back, the Knights and RCB are evenly poised having played sixteen matches between them and both winning eight each. But the Virat Kohli-led side might take solace from the fact that they have won both the matches in the previous edition against the visitors.
With the current season reaching the halfway mark and just two wins from six games, RCB is languishing at the seventh position on the points table, and will need to turn things around to keep their hopes alive for a playoff berth. Whereas the Gautam Gambhir-skippered side would be looking to collect valuable points to climb to the second spot.
The home team, coached by Daniel Vettori, boasts of a strong batting line-up with Kohli leading the way. The main concern for RCB, which has troubled them from the start of the season, is the bowling. Despite putting up huge totals on the board, the bowlers have been guilty of leaking runs and especially during death overs. This will again be put to serious test as the Knights themselves have been putting up a burly batting show.
The team management along with Kohli is left with a riddle on their hands as they are still juggling around to find the winning combination. Dropping Chris Gayle and making several other changes failed to work in RCB’s favour as Sunrisers Hyderabad inflicted a disappointing 15-run loss on Saturday.
The only respite for the home team would be the availability of England fast bowler Chris Jordan, who has come in as a replacement for Mitchell Starc.
With just four foreign players allowed in the playing XI, it will be interesting to see who finds a place in the team. It remains to be seen whether the flamboyant Gayle will find a place for himself, especially since the West Indian hasn’t been among runs since his spectacular 47-ball 100 against England in the World T20.
Moreover, the home side requires a boost in the bowling department, rather than batting, which is doing quite well with or without Gayle. So the selection ahead of the crucial match will be a tricky one as the RCB need to capitalise on their home turf to get back into the game. With one loss and one win at home this season, the bowlers led by Shane Watson, along with Kane Richardson and Varun Aaron, will have to come up with something spectacular to keep the Knights at bay. With both batting heavy sides up against each other the fans are surely going to be treated to a run-feast, if not anything else....