regular-article-logo Sunday, 11 June 2023

Kolkata Knight Riders enjoy edge in Royal Challengers Bangalore duel

The team winning the toss will enjoy the advantage of getting to chase, which has always been the case because of the dew factor

Our Bureau Published 30.03.22, 12:39 AM
Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli File Photo

Shreyas Iyer had a good start to his captaincy stint at Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL-15. A six-wicket victory against the Chennai Super Kings was achieved with ease though death-bowling remained an area of concern for the team.

KKR conceded 47 off the final three overs and would be cautious of not committing the same mistakes when they meet Royal Challengers Bangalore at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.


RCB, on the other hand, will be disappointed, having lost their opener despite scoring 205 against Punjab Kings. They possess a bowling attack which has variety and will hope Mohammed Siraj and Wanindu Hasaranga return to their rhythm quickly.

But it will be up to the RCB batters to dismiss the threat posed by the KKR spin duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy. Captain Faf du Plessis showed that he will lead the charge at the top of the order while the likes of Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik are capable of providing the momentum in the middle and death overs.

Kohli has already termed Du Plessis as an “able captain”. He has said everyone at the franchise has started buying into the “vision” set by its new captain and that he was happy to be still part of the franchise’s “larger picture” and oversee the transition at RCB.

Kohli still remains the central cog in RCB’s wheel, and is bound to be the go-to man for Du Plessis as he gets accustomed to his new responsibility. The sooner things fall into place, the better for RCB.

Pacers hold key

It will not just be about the spinners in this IPL. The wickets in Mumbai, which offer bounce, carry and movement, will help the pacers in the Powerplay overs. After Umesh Yadav excelled for KKR, it was the turn of Mohammed Shami to showcase his talent while playing for Gujarat Titans on Monday.

Umesh bowled with zeal and discipline in the opener to be rewarded with two wickets. The pacer hasn’t really been in his elements with the white ball but has promised to make it count this time.

“Umesh was a really good pick-up for us in the auction because of his ability to swing the ball up front and he is also a wicket-taker too. His statistics in Powerplay are really, really good and that’s where we’ll look to try and use him,” head coach Brendon McCullum said after their opening match.

Young Shivam Mavi went for runs in the closing stages but did show much promise in his opening burst. If he can get his length right, it would be possible to restrict the likes of Du Plessis and Kohli at the Navi Mumbai ground, which has short straight boundaries.

Batting might

The team winning the toss will enjoy the advantage of getting to chase, which has always been the case because of the dew factor. Similarly, the team batting first will aim to score more than 200 since both sides possess a strong line-up.

KKR have a 16-13 advantage against RCB and won two of their three fixtures last year, including the Eliminator clash.

For KKR, the decision to open with Ajinkya Rahane in the absence of Aaron Finch proved beneficial in the first match. Rahane has been a good investment for the Knights considering that he is out of the Test squad and would be keen to prove a point or two. He knows the conditions pretty well and did show glimpses of his form during his 44 off 34 balls, something that should be pleasing to the team management.

It is unlikely that KKR will go for any changes to their XI that played against CSK. That Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have a strike at 215.12 and 196.43, respectively, against RCB should boost their confidence.

Follow us on: