Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers Bangalore – Indian Premier League 5 – Match Preview
The Indian Premier League match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, due to take place at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 28, sees both sides going into battle more or less evenly matched.
The Knight Riders currently occupy the 2nd place on the points table, while the Royal Challengers are at number 4, but both sides have the same number of points (9); having won 4 of the 8 matches they have played.
However, despite the fact that the last clash between the two teams (on April 10 at Bangalore) saw the Knight Riders emerge victorious with a 42-run win, recent performances would indicate that the Challengers are likely to have an upper hand.
Though both teams’ last matches were abandoned owing to rain, Daniel Vettori’s team appear to have found their rhythm and have been delivering fairly consistently, having won all of the last three matches they’ve played. In comparison, the Knight Riders have been erratic in terms of performance, with 2 victories in their last three games, and a narrow 2-run defeat at the hands of the Kings XI Punjab on April 15.
The RCB line-up boasts a formidable batting order, with Chris Gayle among the more prominent names. After a shaky start to the season, the hard-hitting Jamaican batsman has contributed to his team’s victories with scores such as 87, 81, and 68. AB de Villiers is also the inform batsman, having notched up consecutive fifties, while Tillakaratne Dilshan, who scored an unbeaten 76 against the Rajasthan Royals on April 23, is also expected to boost the team’s total in a big way. Virat Kohli however, has been disappointing in the tournament so far, despite his stellar outings for the national team, and the upcoming match offers him a chance to step up his game.
The Challengers’ bowling attack will be bolstered by skipper Daniel Vettori (who is expected to play despite a minor niggle), and players such as Zaheer Khan and Vinay Kumar. In addition, all eyes will be on the young KP Appanna, who impressed with his 4 for 19 in the Challengers’ recent match against the Rajasthan Royals.
On the other hand, the Knight Riders’ line-up features some players with formidable reputations who have failed to fire in the tournament so far. Brendon McCullum and Jacques Kallis have failed to play substantial innings, leaving skipper Gautam Gambhir to do most of the scoring himself. Yusuf Pathan has also fallen into a dismal slump which has seen him posting scores such as 6, 0, 7 and 1, and the Knight Riders will be looking to the 29-year-old to regain his form.
The bowling attack has been performing fairly well, spearheaded by Aussie paceman Brett Lee, who has slowly found his rhythm despite managing just 5 wickets in the tournament so far. He however, may find himself replaced in the upcoming match by Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, mainly owing to the nature of the pitch. Sunil Narine is another player expected to play a key role on the spin-friendly wicket, and home-grown players L Balaji and Rajat Bhatia are also likely to give the Challengers’ batsmen a difficult time.
With the tournament having progressed into the latter stages and pitches growing slower, one expects both lineups to go spin-heavy. Incidentally, 20 wickets have been claimed by spinners at Eden Gardens so far in this season, while pacemen have claimed 12.
The last match at this venue was washed out due to rain, but the weather forecast for tonight predicts dry, partially cloudy conditions and a temperature of 27 - 37° C, which indicates that an exciting encounter will be in store for the crowds at Eden Gardens.
Kolkata Knight Riders playing XI (probable):
1. Brendon McCullum, 2 Gautam Gambhir (captain), 3 Manvinder Bisla (wicketkeeper), 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Manoj Tiwary, 7 Debabrata Das, 8 Rajat Bhatia, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 L Balaji, 11 Brett Lee / Shakib Al Hasan
Royal Challengers Bangalore playing XI (probable):
1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Mayank Agarwal, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 AB de Villiers (wicketkeeper), 6 Saurabh Tiwary, 7 Daniel Vettori (captain), 8 Vinay Kumar, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 KP Appanna, 11 Harshal Patel