Rampaging RCB lock horns with consistent KKR (Preview)

Kolkata, May 15 (IANS) Brimming with confidence after a massive 144-run victory, Royal Challengers Bangalore will run into an in-form Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) side in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Monday.

RCB need to win all their three remaining games to make it to the last four while KKR already have a foot into the play-offs and need just one victory from their remaining three outings.

Both teams come into the contest at the back of morale boosting victories.

RCB registered a crushing 144-run victory over Gujarat Lions at their home turf on Saturday. Propelled by twin centuries from captain Virat Kohli (109) and South African AB de Villiers (129), they posted a gigantic 248/3 in 20 overs. RCB then bundled out Gujarat for a paltry 104.

Later, on the same day in a game here, KKR tamed Rising Pune Supergiants by eight wickets at the Eden Gardens.

Electing to bat, Pune managed to get to 103/6 in 17.4 overs when rain halted the tie. KKR were set a revised target of 66 runs to win from 9 overs when play resumed again. And even though they lost Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir in the first over itself, Yusuf Pathan (37) and Manish Pandey (15) ensured that they cruised past the target without any further setback.

All eyes will be on the KKR bowling and how they fare against the likes of Kohli and de Villiers. The track is likely to be a turner again but the pair has been getting runs on every surface.

Chris Gayle — a former KKR player — loves the Eden track. The last time the burly Jamaican was here in 2015 for RCB, he had smashed a 56-ball 96. The left-hander has been struggling in the current tournament, scoring just 19 runs in five games. However, he can take heart from his previous performances here.

RCB bowling has been inconsistent, though pacer Chris Jordan (4/11) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/19) delivered the goods in the previous game against Gujarat.

If they bowl loose on the day, the likes of Uthappa, Gambhir and Pathan — who have been in great form lately — will surely have no second thoughts about smashing them to the ropes.

When these two sides met last it was the Challengers’ bowling which let them down as Pathan hit a 29-ball 60.

It will be at the back of Kohli’s mind that his bowlers have struggled so far and he would ideally want to bat KKR out of the contest. But then again everyday is not a Sunday.

The squads:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Brad Hogg, Shakib Al Hasan, Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Jason Holder, Manan Sharma, Colin Munro, Kuldeep Yadav, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat, Rajagopal Sathish.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Shane Watson, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Stuart Binny, Iqbal Abdulla, Sreenath Aravind, Kedar Jadhav, Vikramjeet Malik, Kane Richardson, Varun Aaron, Mandeep Singh, Abu Nechim, Adam Milne, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Travis Head, David Wiese, Sachin Baby, Lokesh Rahul, Parvez Rasool, Vikas Tokas, Sarfaraz Khan, Praveen Dubey, Akshay Karnewar.



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