IPL 2021: In-form RCB firm favourites against Knight Riders

Ayaz Memon/Mumbai
Filed on April 17, 2021
AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli look determined to win trophy. — BCCI

RCB look formidable this season

With two wins from two matches, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) would enter this match as favourites though Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have a better head-to-head record, having won 14 of the 26 matches played between the two teams in the IPL. It is also pertinent to note that last season RCB won both matches.

What makes RCB the favoured team this time too is the manner of their wins this season. Against Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Bengaluru franchise, still seeking a maiden title, fought back from difficult situations to clinch the issue.

Against defending champions MI, possessing the best bowling attack in the tournament, the winnings runs came off the last ball in an edge of the seat climax; against SRH, Virat Kohli’s team defended a modest 149 with fierce commitment.

In both batting and bowling, RCB have shown spirit and resourcefulness. More runs from the top order batsmen are obviously needed, but the form of Kohli himself, AB de Villiers and particularly Glenn Maxwell has been sturdy suggesting that tall team totals are in the offing.

Kyle Jamieson with ball and bat has been effective, which means apart from Dan Christian, the overseas players have come good. Some concerns about home players remain though, especially in the bowling where Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar haven’t been able to take wickets even on spin friendly Chepauk wickets.

KKR, after the debacle against MI, have a lot of ground to recover, particularly in the batting. Nitish Rana has been excellent, Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi have shown decent form. But all three were guilty of throwing their wickets in what should have been a comfortable run chase..

What’s worrying for KKR is that the middle-order, comprising of overseas stars Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan and Andre Russell — has contributed little in the two matches played so far, leaving Dinesh Karthik stranded. Even Russell’s fabulous 5-wicket haul against MI came to nought as the batting crumbled.

So ignominiously, that team owner Shah Rukh Khan took to Twitter to apologise to KKR fans.

Player To Watch Out For:

RCB: Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson

KKR: Nitish Rana, Shakib Al Hasan, Shubman Gill

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