Royal Challengers Bangalore made short works of Delhi Daredevils and defending champions Mumbai Indians in their first two matches. KKR, on the other hand, started off well with a 41-run win over Mumbai but slipped against Delhi on the face of JP Duminy’s late assault. KKR have been a form side and will expect to get back to winning ways, but with Chris Gayle set to return, their task will be difficult against Bangalore.
Full strength RCB
Chris Gayle missed the first two matches due to a sore back. But he’s expected to be fit for Thursday’s game which means more trouble for Kolkata. In Gayle’s absence, skipper Virat Kohli (49 not out) and Yuvraj Singh (52 not out) dominated against Delhi, while Parthiv Patel (57 not out) and AB de Villiers (45 not out) did the job against Mumbai. Gayle will also provide an extra bowling option with his fastish, flattish off-spin. However, coming back from injury, he may not risk rolling the arm over so early.
Kolkata captain is yet to get off the mark this IPL, scoring back to back ducks against Delhi and Mumbai. The left-hander had a par Ranji season, scoring 578 runs in seven matches at 48.16 but disappointed in the Vijay Hazare ODI tournament, making just 127 runs in five matches at 25.40. The struggles of a captain do not bode well for the team, especially considering Gambhir is a top order player. Manish Pandey’s good form (64 against Mumbai and 48 against Delhi) ensured Kolkata post very competitive totals in both their matches. Jacques
Kallis and Robin Uthappa, too, have chipped in.
Surprise package chahal
Vinay Kumar has switched over from Bangaloreto Kolkata this season, and despite having a good Ranji season, it will not come as a big surprises about who leads the Kolkata outfit’s bowling — Sunil Narine. With five wickets in two games 4.75, Narine is once more having a great tournament.
However, Bangalore are not without their own leggie who can pose problems. Yuzvendra Chahal, with three wickets at an economy rate of 4.37, has been a revalation in the two matches he has played so far. That he is an Indian bowler will no doubt help Bangalore maintain their balance too.