Royal Challengers Bangalore will fight another battle to keep their slim playoff aspirations alive when they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in Match 35 of IPL 2019.
While RCB lie at the floor of the eight-team table with a solitary win from eight matches, their opponents Knight Riders are part of the mid-table muddle with four wins from eight matches.
The Knight Riders have slipped to number six from being table-toppers just over ten days ago. KKR started the season strongly registering four wins in their first five matches but have now lost three in a row – including their last two fixtures at home. The Knight Riders have issues to address – both with their batting and bowling. In their last three matches, they’ve have only taken 11 wickets, while they’ve themselves lost 24 wickets. As an opening pair, Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine can be hit or miss, and therefore KKR’s middle order must fire every single match. Andre Russell has been consistent with the bat and is the team’s top run-getter, but KKR need more from those in the middle – Robbie Uthappa, Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik.
The surface at their home ground has generally had a generous cover of grass which has rendered the quality spinners in the KKR line-up ineffective; Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla together have picked up 14 wickets in nearly 78 overs. KKR need a wicket-taking bowler in their XI, but they’re also limited by options in the squad.
RCB’s playoff aspirations are hanging by a thread; they currently only have a mathematical chance of progressing beyond the league season, and that too will vanish if they suffer one more loss. Like their opponent, RCB’s major problem too is with their bowling; they don’t take enough wickets, and they don’t contain the runs.
RCB only fielded three overseas players in their last couple of matches. They are boosted by the arrival of Dale Steyn, and one can expect he will immediately take the place of the fourth overseas player.
Chris Lynn has hit form after a poor start to the season; after managing just 37 runs at under a run-a-ball in his first three matches, the KKR opener has scored 175 runs in his last four innings. KKR will want the Australian to keep making his way up the run-scorers list. Robbie Uthappa, who bats at number three or four, has the game to bat deep. Despite getting off to starts almost every time this season, he has only managed one half-century; KKR also expect more from the 33-year old. And then of course, there’s Andre Russell. The Jamaican is KKR’s top run-getter this season; the 312 runs he has scored have been at a strike-rate of 213.70!
For RCB, the batting still revolves around Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, though Parthiv Patel has done his bit by consistently getting the team off to brisk starts.
Both teams have bowling problems to address; RCB could do with the experience and class of Dale Steyn, while KKR would be considering if Matt Kelly, the Western Australia pace bowler signed up as a replacement for the injured Andrich Nortje, should be handed an IPL debut.
Head to Head in Indian Premier League
Overall: Matches – 23,Kolkata Knight Riders – 14, Royal Challengers Bangalore –9.
RCB Predicted XI: Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Akshdeep Nath, Marcus Stoinis, Moeen Ali, Yuzvendra Chahal, Pawan Negi, Dale Steyn, Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav
KKR predicted XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Subhman Gill, Dinesh Karthik, Carlos Brathwaite, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Harry Gurney