The Royal Challengers Bangalore are one of the early pace setters of the tournament and may have well been sitting on three wins out of three,if not for their Super Over loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad. However,they avenged the defeat just two days later,and are currently third on the table. Kolkata Knight Riders beat the whipping boys of the current edition,Delhi Daredevils,in the season opener,but went down to Rajasthan Royals away. A win for Bangalore will push them to the top of the table while the defending champions would not want to be left with too much to do later on. Fatigue could play a role too,as Bangalore play their fourth game in a week.
Kolkata have unsurprisingly had to turn to Sunil Naraine whenever they have had to check the opposition. The spinner has picked up six wickets while the rest put together have eight. But against a batting side that boasts a line of big hitters at the top of the order (Chris Gayle,Virat Kohli,AB de Villiers) it would present skipper Gautam Gambhir with tactical headaches. Mayank Agarwals sprightly innings against Hyderabad,when he came in for Tillakaratne Dilshan at the top of the order,will only add to the problem.
After the win against Delhi,KKR made one change during their loss against Rajasthan,dropping Laxmipathy Balaji for Shami Ahmed. The reason was that the Jaipur track was expected to do a bit for the pacers and Ahmed was felt to be better equipped to make advantage. However,the Bengal pacer was their most expensive bowler and went wicketless. Also,Laxmi Shukla has had little to do with the ball and has been coming too low down the order to contribute. Batting option Debabrata Das or left arm orthodox Iqbal Abdulla could get a look in before long.
Hit or miss
RCB is an unabashedly top heavy side and in their last game against Hyderabad,it seemed especially so after they went in with five specialist bowlers. It was Moises Henriques who leant the side a bit of balance,but the flip side of having a beavy of big hitters at the top is that it also increases the chances of a collapse,leaving the side especially exposed. Kohli has bailed the side out on their last two games,top scoring on both occasions. Perhaps that is something that the visitors would look to exploit.
RCB vs KKR: Head to head: Played 10,Bangalore 5,Kolkata 5.