Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will look to get their campaign back on track when they face off on Sunday as the Indian Premier League (IPL) reaches the midway mark.
While KKR are fourth with six points from seven games but coming off two successive defeats, RCB are at the sixth spot with four points from six games.
KKR's last two games saw them lose to Kings XI Punjab (by nine wickets via DLS method) at home and Delhi Daredevils (by 55 runs) at the national capital.
In Delhi, they allowed the Daredevils to build this IPL season's highest total of 219/4. While chasing they were restricted to 164/9, having lost four wickets for just 46 runs in the powerplay.
KKR will be hoping for an all-round game, since their bowlers and batsmen have not clicked in unison in the past two games.
Dinesh Karthik has led from the front in the batting department with the likes of his deputy Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Chris Lynn and all-rounder Andre Russell firing in unison.
KKR'r concern will be their bowling, which has failed to defend even big totals. The spin trio of Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine and pacers Shivam Mavi and Tom Curran were plundered by Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw of Delhi in their last game and will look to bounce back strongly although it will be very difficult at the batting-friendly M. Chinnaswamy wicket.
On the other hand, RCB, led by Virat Kohli, have never got any momentum. Their two wins have comes against Kings XI (April 13) and Delhi (April 21). In their last match, RCB failed to defend their total of 205/8 against Chennai Super Kings, who rode on half-centuries from Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu to win by five wickets. Yuzvendra Chahal still believes that the team can stage a comeback in IPL 2018. m
That loss continued to show RCB's weakness in their bowling department. The spin duo of Yuzuvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar and seamers Chris Woakes and Umesh Yadav have done well in parts and need to bring their best in order to avoid another defeat which could endanger their playoff chances.
In batting, RCB have a top-heavy line-up, with the presence of AB De Villiers (280 runs), Virat Kohli (249 runs) enough to hurt any bowling line-up. Mandeep Singh (171), Quinton de Kock (165) also need to contribute more.
Bangalore however, have failed to find the perfect opening partnerships, which could be a major cause of concern.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (Captain), Quinton de Kock(WK), Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Kulwant Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Manan Vohra, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Corey Anderson, Parthiv Patel, Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (Captain/WK), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna.