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KKR favourites vs winless RCB

Battered RCB have lost all their four matches so far and in some of them, they didn’t come even close to winning
Andre Russell plays a shot during the IPL cricket match between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi, on March 30, 2018.

TT Bureau   |   Calcutta   |   Published 04.04.19, 08:44 PM

Kolkata Knight Riders’ performance so far in the ongoing edition of the IPL, particularly in their previous game against Delhi Capitals, does highlight that they are going to fight till the very last ball.

On the other hand, the battered Royal Challengers Bangalore have lost all their four matches so far and in some of them, they didn’t come even close to winning.

So, considering how both teams have fared as of now, Friday’s game at the Chinnaswamy appears to be a mismatch. But then, keeping in mind the uncertainties this format brings along with apart from the presence of the likes of captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the hosts’ ranks, it’s a little bit early to draw a conclusion.

“We all know what kind of team the Royal Challengers have got and losing four games does not mean they are down and out, because we know the quality of players they have and they will bounce back for sure,” said Knight Riders leg-spinner Piyush Chawla on match eve.

“I am sure they are going to come back harder at us. Obviously, we have to prepare it that way and play some good cricket if we want to beat them.”

However, if Knight Riders play the way they have been so far, they shouldn’t be having too many problems against the Royal Challengers, who have been a completely misfiring side. Even the great Kohli has looked out of sorts with almost nothing going in his team’s favour.

The good news for the Knight Riders, as Chawla claimed during the pre-match media conference, is that Sunil Narine has regained fitness and is likely to be back in the XI. “Narine is fit and good to go,” Chawla said.

Though the Knight Riders lost their previous game by three runs in the Super Over against Delhi Capitals, their confidence level will be very high as their batsmen are in fine form.

Andre Russell is looking deadlier with the bat, while he’s doing his job with the ball too. Russell has been in sensational form with his incredible power-hitting that helped the Knight Riders win two matches.

Restricting him will certainly be a challenge for Yuzvendra Chahal — the only consistent bowler in the Royal Challengers side — and company.

Nitish Rana, too, is being more consistent and playing with greater responsibility. The left-hander has been impressive as an opener and in the middle order too in the previous games. The performance of young Shubman Gill will also be watched keenly as he is tipped to be a future India star.

Captain Dinesh Karthik too would be itching to come up with a meaningful contribution and make a statement before his India captain, something that could be crucial when the selectors get down to finalise the squad for the World Cup.

Given the current situation, there’s little to worry about as far as the Knight Riders are concerned. For the Royal Challengers, another defeat will only make matters worse for them.

“Obviously, we can’t shy away from saying that we are under the pump. That’s definitely the case, there is no doubt about it. We can’t sit here and say we are 0-4 and we are happy about it!

“But the only thing, to be honest, is we are quite positive about the team we have. We have always spoken in our dressing room about the kind of team we have, and we don’t deserve to lose four games in a row.

“The game against Mumbai Indians was tight. Even if you look at last game, we didn’t field well, bat well or bowl well and still the game went almost till the last ball.

“We feel that if we play to our potential, we will get that required momentum which is urgently needed at this moment,” said Parthiv.


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