Currently placed third and fourth respectively, you cannot think of two more evenly-matched teams than Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, who will do battle to consolidate their position at the top-half of the IPL 2020 points table. In the previous two matches, Dinesh Karthik has proved his mettle as captain, pulling a rabbit out of the habit twice in two matches to help KKR to wins. His team changes and batting order shuffles have been spot-on. (IPL 2020 Full Coverage)
The use of Rahul Tripathi as an opener and keeping Sunil Narine for the decisive overs is a gamble that has paid solid dividends for Karthik. Even bringing Prasidh Krishna ahead of Shivam Mavi worked wonders for KKR, with the young fast bowler delivering what could possibly be called a game-changing over. Under the scanner for his own form with the bat, Karthik dispelled those doubts with a timely half-century against Kings XI Punjab the other day. With four wins, the KKR juggernaut is beginning to gain steam as the tournament enters a crucial middle phase.
Barring Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians, on current form, RCB appear the most adept to break KKR’s winning momentum. A stark contrast to their previous three editions, RCB have had a good start to the season, winning four games out of six. To make matters even better, their captain Virat Kohli, who began with scores of 14, 1 and 3, has hit form, his match-winning 90 being one of the best IPL knocks of the season. With almost everyone in RCB’s top order in good form, coupled by an impressive bowling stock, that stopped Chennai Super Kings from chasing down 170. With very similar strengths and barely any weakness, RCB and KKR will jostle for a position.
What: Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Match 28
When: Monday (October 12)
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Time: 7:30 PM
Royal Challengers Bangalore: In his first match of the season, Chris Morris proved why he isn’t someone who should be left out of the Playing XI. His all-round skills are capable of countering the best bowling and batting line-ups. Against KKR, Kohli is unlikely to tamper with the combination that won him the game comprehensively against CSK
Probable XI: 1 Devdutt Padikkal, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Virat Kohli (Captain), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 Washington Sundar, 7 Gurkeerat Singh, 8 Chris Morris, 9 Isuru Udana, 10 Navdeep Saini, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Kolkata Knight Riders: Like Morris, KKR found an unexpected hero with Prasidh rising to the occasion. Sunil Narine was reported for an illegal suspect bowling action but that won’t prevent him from taking the field. The only question mark that hovers is over the participation of Andre Russell. The all-rounder picked up a knee injury trying to stop a ball on the boundary and went off the field. One of Chris Green or Tom Banton could be likely contenders to take his spot.
Probable XI: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Nitish Rana, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Dinesh Karthik (Captain/Wicketkeeper), 6 Andre Russell/Chris Green, 7 Pat Cummins, 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Kamlesh Nagarkoti, 10 Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Stats and Trivia
– Virat Kohli is only three sixes away from becoming the third Indian cricket to hit 200 IPL sixes.
– Pat Cummins is one strike away from completing 100 T20 wickets
– Shubman Gill needs three runs to get to 1000 runs in T20 cricket
– Two more strikes and Yuzvendra Chahal will complete 200 wickets in T20s