About the Match
IPL matches between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore seem to have that extra bit of spice in them, not least because of the two strong individuals leading their teams. This match promises to be no different as KKR recover from their loss against the Gujarat Lions and RCB aim to build on their win against the same team last time around.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The Knight Riders have dealt with the loss of some of their top players like Andre Russell and Chris Lynn admirably. Their tactic of opening with Sunil Narine has worked well on some occasions but it is not something we see succeeding over a long span of time.
Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa may have to be reunited at the top of the order backed up by the impressive Manish Pandey and the rest of the Indian batting. We think that Kolkata could be found out if they lose a couple of quick wickets since their middle and lower order is relatively weak (although they did manage to stage a fantastic comeback against Delhi).
The inclusion of Coulter-Nile has been a welcome one and increased the potency of the seam attack considerably although Chris Woakes continues to be quite ineffective. The opposition teams have also worked out Sunil Narine with his new action and are not losing wickets to him like they once were.
Considering all of this, we think that KKR has been outperforming expectations and we think they could still face some tough times in the tournament ahead.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Chris Gayle showed the world he is still a force to be reckoned with and blasted 77 runs off 38 balls in the last match. Virat Kohli is also getting into the groove of things and we fully expect him to continue scoring runs this season.
AB DeVilliers missed the last match with an injury and could miss this one as well but his replacement, Travis Head, smashed 30 runs off 16 balls to ease Bangalore’s pain somewhat. For RCB, the bowling lineup has been a tough mystery to unravel.
The costliest overseas bowler in history, Tymal Mills has been sidelined and almost every other Indian bowler tried has been a huge disappointment. Adam Milne, the New Zealand pacer will probably continue to be preferred, especially since Kohli loves having genuine pace at his disposal.
This is usually the stage of the tournament when RCB starts to get its act together and move up in the standings. Opposition teams must be very wary of them.
Head To Head
KKR holds a 10-9 advantage over RCB across 19 matches played in IPL history. They have a similar slight advantage at the Eden Gardens, 4-3 from 7 but crucially have lost 3 out of the last 4 matches between the teams.
We think that the changed nature of the Eden Gardens pitch will play into RCB’s hands and allow their batsmen to score freely. KKR will always be in the game thanks to the captaincy of Gautam Gambhir and its superior bowling attack, but we fear that they may be outgunned in this match.
Royal Challengers Bangalore To Win.
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