Morgan, Gill's poor form a 'Knight' mare for Kolkata

Ayaz Memon/Mumbai
Filed on April 25, 2021
Eoin Morgan has struggled with the bat. — PTI


The current season is perhaps more crucial for RCB

This is one of the blue riband matches of the IPL, featuring two iconic Indian players (MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli), along with a host of other stellar players, domestic and overseas, and made more interesting this year because both teams have had a terrific start.

RCB are currently top of the points table, having won all their four matches yet while CSK are second on the table, overcoming their first match defeat swiftly to win the next three on the trot in grand style. For CSK particularly, this season has been a turnaround from the dismal showing in 2020 in the UAE.

Dhoni and his team had floundered in batting and bowling, hovering right through at the bottom of the table with listless performances. This time, the three-time title winners have plugged some gaps in talent, rediscovered their mojo, and the results (so far) have been dramatically different.

The current season is perhaps more crucial for RCB. The clamour for a maiden title win from fans has reached a crescendo, which skipper Kohli, other players in the squad and the support staff could be oblivious too.

Can RCB win the title this year? The answer to that question is in the future. But how the team performs in the next couple of weeks, and particularly in key clashes like the one against CSK on Sunday, will be a key determinant.

How do the teams square up for tonight’s clash? Their strengths so far have been similar: batting and bowling both clicking, young openers striking fine form, overseas players making significant contributions, both teams playing with gusto and ambition.

The dissimilarity is in the batting performance of the captains. Kohli has been quite superb as an opener, in playing anchor or leading the charge. Dhoni has gone up and down the order to find his touch but has struggled for rhythm and timing. However, in tactics, his brilliance remains undimmed, especially in the manner of his handling tense match situations.

Since the match is at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium where teams have been notching up skyscraper high scores, this one promises to be a high-scoring affair too. Which makes control and skill of bowlers, error-free fielding, and obviously how the two captains marshall their resources critical to the outcome.

Players to watch out for

PBKS: KL Rahul, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami

KKR: Dinesh Karthik, Varun Chakravarthy, Nitish Ran

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