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|Quinton de Kock||4||4||1||0||100.00|
|AB de Villiers||44||23||1||5||191.30|
The 11th edition of Indian Premier League is set to get underway in about less than a week's time and a lot has happened over the past few days. Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad had to undergo final-minute changes, thanks to the ball-tampering incident. The Knight Riders have roped-in Tom Curran as a replacement for injured Michael Starc. In the third game of the tournament, on 8th April, they'll take on Royal Challengers Banglore. RCB has always been a crowd-entertaining team and we expect them to give KKR a tough fight in a bid to start the tournament on a happy note.
The two-times champions spent more per player than any other team in the IPL auction. They exhausted their entire purse for 19 players which includes some quality Indian players.
One of the most surprising changes from them was to release one of the most successful captains in the history of the tournament, Gautam Gambhir. Dinesh Karthik is the new skipper of the men in purple and he would love to replicate his TNPL success in a league which is fiercer and bigger.
Chris Lynn was out for a better part in the last year's edition, but he is fit and raring to go in 2018. Furthermore, the team will regain their old-essence with Andre Russell expected to be fit and available to play in their opening game against RCB.
Similar to what it has been in the past few editions, KKR has strengthened their lineup with raw Indian talent. They picked up Shivam Mavi, Shubham Gill, and Kamlesh Nagarkoti on the second day of the auction.
With Andre Russell and Sunil Narine in the mix, they have plenty of options available should they choose to build their team around them. The lack of bench strength, however, may haunt them during the fag end of the competition.
Unlike last year, Kuldeep Yadav is an automatic pick, especially after his recent limited over's performance and ABDV's apparent struggle against quality wrist-spinners. It would be interesting to see if Sunil Narine gets a chance at the top of the order with so many regular openers available. With a strong top-order and a batting lineup that goes deep, KKR is still a force to reckon with.
Expected Playing XI: Chris Lynn - Shubham Gill - Robin Uthappa (wk) - Dinesh Karthik (c) - Nitish Rana - Andre Russell - Sunil Narine - R Vinay Kumar - Kuldeep Yadav - Piyush Chawla - Tom Curran.
SP Narine, Chris Lynn, RV Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, Nitish Rana, RK Singh, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, RV Kumar, MG Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav.
The men in Black and Red have known to be top-heavy and have plundered on many occasions due to the same. The surprising move of letting go of Chris Gayle has let them bolster their all-rounder segment as they snapped Washinton Sundar, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, and Moeen Ali.
The abundance of experienced bowling all-rounders hasn't let the Coulter Nile's injury concern them too much. Chris Woakes will be playing against his old teammates and he might have a trick or a two to get better of them. Washington Sundar's recent performance with the ball will make him an automatic pick for the playing eleven.
The most important link for RCB will be the Kohli - De Villiers partnership. The duo has been one of the most successful pairs in the world Cricket and their performance is expected to have a huge effect on the outcome of the game. Yuzvendra Chahal has been a consistent performer for them and he will have a key role to play in the bowling department.
The management will have to make a tough choice between QdK and BMac as playing them both might have a telling impact on their bowling. With Parthiv Patel available as a regular wicket-keeper, Brendon McCullum's selection over QdK will make perfect sense. However, as seen in PSL, his recent form might be a cause for concern and it won't be surprising if we see Quinton de Kock opening the innings as he does for South Africa. Regardlessly, a lot would depend of the performances of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers and their performance might eventually govern the fate of RCB.
Predicted Playing XI: Quinton de Kock (wk) - Parthiv Patel - Virat Kohli (c) - AB de Villiers - Manan Vohra - Sarfaraz Khan - Chris Woakes - Washinton Sundar - Tim Southee - Umesh Yadav - Yuzendra Chahal.
Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, V Kohli, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, M Singh, Washington Sundar, CR Woakes, K Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, YS Chahal.
The dew factor might tempt captains to win the toss and field first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Eden Garden is the largest ground in the country and it isn't easy to hit the ball out of the park as it is in Wankhede and Chinnaswamy Stadium. Having said that, we have seen big totals scored and chased here. This surface offers good bounce to the bowlers and bowling accurately in good areas will be key for them. Failing in doing so will allow batsmen to take over and score runs quickly on this overall sporting wicket.
With both the sides evenly matched, it is expected to be a cracker of a contest. RCB have a top-order that can demolish any bowling unit whereas KKR has the services of spinners with excellent numbers in the shortest format of the game. With Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in excellent batting form and a batting lineup that goes deep, back Royal Challengers Bangalore to win.
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