IPL 2023: Struggling Kolkata seeks change of fortunes against Bangalore

Kolkata, the two-time champion has looked clueless in its last four outings, losing at home while also on the road

By PTI

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RCB's Mohammed Siraj. — RCB Twitter
RCB's Mohammed Siraj. — RCB Twitter

Published: Tue 25 Apr 2023, 11:02 PM

Kolkata Knight Riders will be desperate to bring its flagging campaign back on track while Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to shrug off the over dependence on its top three batters when the two teams clash in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

The two-time champion has looked clueless in its last four outings, losing at home while also on the road. The Nitish Rana-led side is currently in the seventh spot with just two wins from seven games.

The losses can largely be pegged down to the shoddy performance of KKR batters. It is missing its regular skipper Shreyas Iyer and star all-rounder Shakib-Al-Hasan.

In the 49-run loss against Chennai Super Kings on Sunday, KKR batters were expected to rise to the occasion, chasing a 230-plus score, instead, the top-order, comprising the likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Rana, and N Jagadeesan crumbled under pressure.

KKR has also struggled to zero in on its opening pair. The former champion has shuffled around with Sunil Narine, Jagadeesan, Litton Das, Jason Roy, and Rahmanullah Gurbaz at the top.

Its decision to send Narine to open the innings alongside Jagadeesan against CSK failed as the West Indian departed for a duck.

Had it not been for Roy and Rinku Singh’s fifties, the margin of defeat would have been worse.

The duo’s performance is the silver lining in an otherwise dismal show against CSK.

The big-hitting Andre Russell has also failed miserably in his role as the finisher. He hasn’t been able to hit the big shots and the fact that KKR sends him at number seven or eight has not been helpful.

The all-rounder’s fitness is also a concern. He hasn’t bowled his quota of four overs even once this season as he often gets injured while bowling.

But KKR will walk into the game with a slight psychological edge, having defeated RCB by 81 runs earlier this season.

Meanwhile, RCB will be high on confidence after eking out a seven-run win over the then-table-topper Rajasthan Royals and would be eager to extend its winning streak.

Faf du Plessis and his troops have won four of its seven games, including the last two, and finds itself just outside of the top four in the fifth spot.

RCB’s wins have come on the back of sensational performers by a few players.

Du Plessis has been in sublime form and has raised several centuries stands with Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell, who are also in good nick.

Such is the dependence on the three that only they are doing the bulk of the scoring while the other batters have failed to fire.

More is expected from the middle order comprising Dinesh Karthik, Mahipal Lomlor, Shahbaz Ahmed, and Suyash Prabhudessai.

Among bowlers, Mohammed Siraj has been in sensational form. The Purple Cap holder has conceded at 7.17 runs per over and has bowled the most dot balls — 89 this season.

Siraj is being ably supported by Wayne Parnell and Harshal Patel.

The addition of Sri Lankan spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has also done wonders for the previously struggling RCB bowling unit.

RCB was undone by KKR spinners earlier this season and it will have to be a bit cautious while playing the likes of Varun Chakravarthy, Suyash Sharma, and Narine.

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