Kolkata Knight Riders face Royal Challengers Bangalore after just one day-off in between two games in Sharjah. The heavyweights face-off in Dubai in match 28 of IPL 2020. RCB vs KKR encounters have been one of the most anticipated ones in the IPL in the past and we can expect another good contest in Sharjah. This is the first time both these teams are squaring off this season. While this is KKR’s second game in Sharjah, this is the season’s first for Virat Kohli’s team at the venue. Both these teams have in between wins after losses in this contest so far. While KKR have managed narrow wins in their last two matches, RCB have won one and lost one in the build-up to this high-voltage encounter.
Team Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders have won their last two games by the narrowest of margins this season. While they beat CSK by 10 runs, Punjab fell short by just two runs in one of the most closely contested games this season. Dinesh Karthik’s captaincy tactics especially in the last two games has brought huge huge accolades. His move to hold back Sunil Narine for the death overs has paid off at least in the previous two games. They play Bangalore in Sharjah, which is smallest of the three grounds in the UAE. The move to bring on Prasidh Krishna also paid off for Karthik as he dismissed a well-set KL Rahul in the 19th over to help KKR win the contest.
However, the biggest plus for KKR heading into this game is Dinesh Karthik coming back into form. After a string of low scores in the first five games, he scored a 29-ball 58 donning the finisher’s role for his side. He walked out to bat at number five and struck the ball sweetly from the start. With questions on Andre Russell’s form and his availability against RCB in Sharjah, Karthik will hope that he keeps his form now that he has found it. Eoin Morgan too is making key contributions in the middle-order and will need to bring out his best against RCB if Russell is not available.
Bowling wise, Sunil Narine once again stepped up to the plate for KKR. He defended 14 off the final over as KKR registered a 2-run win over Punjab. He was introduced in the eighth over of the game and he managed to squeeze the runs in the middle-overs. After the game, he was reported of suspect bowling action by the on-field umpires. He has been warned and will not be able to bowl if he found guilty again.
Meanwhile, RCB registered a comfortable victory against CSK on Saturday to keep themselves in the hunt for the playoffs. Virat Kohli scored 90 for his side as he struck back into form. It was good in a way that the top-order faltered to set a stage for a Kohli masterclass. His innings gave immense confidence to the team as a whole and it was visible in the second innings.
The bowlers yet again did the job for Bangalore, which will keep them in good stead before their game in Sharjah. Washington Sundar at the top and Chris Morris at the death proved too good for the CSK batters. Going forward its important that their bowlers keep up the good form they have shown off-late.
Head to Head: RCB vs KKR
In the 25 games played between the two teams so far, KKR have won 15, while RCB 10. In the last five meetings between these two teams, KKR have won four, while RCB just one.
Pitch & Weather Conditions
Temperatures will be in the high 30’s in this high-voltage encounter between the two teams. The ground of Sharjah has witnessed the most sixes in the tournament among the three venues. With big hitters in both sides, expect a run-fest at this venue. Meanwhile, Delhi Capitals won their last game scoring 184 at this venue. Their bowlers showed the template of keeping it tight and attacking with the spinners against Rajasthan who were bowled out for just 138.
Andre Russell jammed his knee in the advertising hoardings while trying to take a catch against Punjab. He walked off the field and did not bowl for KKR. In case, Russell misses out against RCB, it will be a huge loss for the side since the match is in Sharjah. Also his overs with ball will be crucial for KKR. Meanwhile, there are no injury concerns from the RCB camp.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Dinesh Karthik (c/wk), Eoin Morgan, Shubman Gill, Tom Banton, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Rinku Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Nikhil Naik, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Sandeep Warrier, Varun Chakravarthy,Siddhesh Lad.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Pawan Negi, Isuru Udana, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Pavan Deshpande, Adam Zampa