The 2019 edition of IPL is underway and in the 17th match of the season, wooden spoon holders Royal Challengers Bangalore will host the in-form Kolkata Knight Riders at the Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore.
RCB & KKR have contrast journeys so far in this year’s IPL with RCB yet to register a win, while KKR had two home wins and a tie in their last match against Delhi.
The Bengaluru-based franchise had a horrendous start to the tournament by losing four consecutive matches and is lying at the bottom of the points table. RCB desperately needs a turn-around in fortunes; else it’ll be very difficult for them to reach the playoffs. Like every other edition, this year also RCB looked strong on paper after the auctions but failed to perform to their potential. Over-dependence & underperforming of Virat Kohli & AB de Villiers is hurting them a lot.
Kohli spoke about bulk changes to the playing XI after the loss against Rajasthan Royals. Coulter-Nile will only be available after April 13th and the team management have to rotate with the available players. Along with de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis, Tim Southee may come into the side in place of Shimron Hetmeyer who had a disastrous tournament so far. Washington Sundar can be a good replacement to Moeen Ali and it will give them another overseas seaming all-rounder in Colin de Grandhomme.
Yuzvendra Chahal’s purple cap performances aren’t enough in the bowling department and so far he alone took 8 wickets out of the 16 RCB had taken in the tournament. If Chahal is aided with some help in the bowling unit, RCB can hope for a better outing as they had in their lone home game against Mumbai Indians which they lost by just 6 runs.
Shahrukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders had three back to back high scoring matches and they came out on top in both their home fixtures. They also fought well to take the last match against Delhi Capitals’ to the Super Over which they lost courtesy of splendid bowling from Kagiso Rabada.
Andre Russell is on phenomenal hitting form with 159 runs at an astonishing strike rate of 248.43. He bailed out KKR in their season opener against SRH while chasing a 183 target and also had a couple of mesmerizing knocks while batting first. Again he’s the player to watch out for on a batting friendly Bengaluru pitch which aided by smaller boundaries.
Sunil Narine will slot back into the team in place of Nikhil Naik after being match fit. Chris Lynn’s opening woes is a concern for the team management but they might hang on with the Australian hard-hitter. Along with Russell, Narine & Lynn, Lockie Ferguson will seal the four overseas slots. Apart from Narine’s inclusion, KKR may go in with an unchanged XI.
RCB Probable XI: Parthiv Patel(wk), Washington Sundar, Virat Kohli(C), AB de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis, Moeen Ali/Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Akshdeep Nath, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Siraj
KKR Probable XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(C & wk), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna
Virat Kohli vs Kuldeep Yadav
Virat Kohli received a lot of criticism for his on-field decisions as a captain for the RCB’s four consecutive losses. He also didn’t had a great time with the bat also as he used to be. He just had 78 runs in the four games at an average of 19.50 and with a low strike rate of 98.73 which are comparatively low to his overall IPL record where he amassed over 5000 runs at an average of 37.78 and at a strike rate of 130.10. One can expect Kohli to come good very quickly and this match is a perfect platform for him to brought RCB back to winning ways by scoring some crucial runs.
Since his debut, Kuldeep Yadav has been a revelation in international cricket and during the period he picked most no. of ODI wickets (87) in just 44 matches. He also had 35 wickets in 18 T20I’s. But he hasn’t made the same kind of impact in IPL. He had just 37 wickets in 34 IPL matches at an average of 25.64 and an economy of 8.30. But his brilliant last over against DC took the game to Super Over and he’ll be desperate to make more impactful performances for the Kolkata team.
Yuzvendra Chahal vs Andre Russell
Out of the 16 wickets taken by the RCB team in IPL 2019, 8 have come from Chahal’s bowling. Once again he will be a go-to bowler for skipper Virat Kohli against a strong KKR batting line-up. He is the current holder of Purple Cap by picking 8 wickets in 4 matches at an average of 13.12 at an economy of just 6.56. Overall in IPL, Chahal had taken 90 wickets in 74 matches at an average of 22.63 and conceded runs at an economy of 7.70.
Russel is in unbelievable hitting form in this year’s IPL. In all the three KKR matches, he made impactful performances with the bat with the scores read 49* off 18, 45 of 17 & 62 of 28. Russell’s six-hitting capability has been the talk of the town in this season and he already sent 15 out of the stadium. Overall Russell had scored 1049 runs at an average of at a whopping strike rate of 185.33.
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Even though on paper and judging on past performances in this year’s IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders are favourites to win the match, yet Team CricWizz predicts RCB to win the match as they are more accustomed to the pitch and ground dimensions of the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and also because of the consecutive losses in this season will fuel RCB to perform better and steal a win against the KKR who are dependent on certain match-winners for a victory.
But one cannot rule-out the fact that the Bangalore pitch suits teams batting second, and thus Toss would be an integral aspect in today’s outcome.
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