Preview: Stung by two successive reversals, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will look bounce back and stay in contention for a play-off berth when they take on lowly Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here on Sunday.
KKR, who suffered losses against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rising Pune Supergiant in their previous two matches, need two wins out of the remaining three matches to seal their berth in the knockout stage.
Placed second in the IPL standings with 14 points from 11 matches, the two-time IPL winners are followed by Rising Pune Supergiant and Sunrisers Hyderabad at 14 and 13 points.
The manner in which RCB lost to KKR at the Eden Gardens should give them a lot of confidence going into this tie.
KKR had handed out a 82-run defeat to RCB after bundling them out for 49 -- the lowest score in IPL history.
Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, the two captains. Sportzpics
In the next two matches, KKR would be facing Kings XI Punjab, who registered a 19-run victory against RCB on Friday, and already qualified Mumbai Indians who have 16 points from 10 outings.
Gautam Gambhir's side lost by four wickets against Pune and the defeat could be a reality check for the Kolkata side as their top order collapsed in the last match, while Colin de Grandhomme's 36 and Manish Pandey's 37 saved the blushes.
Rahul Tripathi then single handedly won it for Pune with a belligerent 52-ball 93.
KKR are eagerly awaiting the services of Chris Lynn who has practised recently and is expected to be back by May 9. The hamstring injury to in-form top order bat Robin Uthappa is a cause of worry too. The Karnataka dasher missed out the last game and it is unclear whether he will take a part on Sunday as well.
Sunil Narine's opening experiment is slowly starting to fall off and if Gambhir and Manish Pandey has a bad day, it could well be down to Yusuf Pathan, who is in poor form.
RCB, on the other hand, have been the biggest disappointment of this year's IPL. Virat Kohli's rock-bottom team have been bowled out four times this season and have just five points to show for from 12 matches.
Unlike the previous seasons, RCB's batting has been the biggest disappointment with the likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Kohli himself not stepping up.
RCB's two leg-spinners spinners -- Samuel Badree (9 wickets) and Yuzvendra Chahal (13 wickets) have been the only ones who stood up and KKR would be way of that threat.
KKR: Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Darren Bravo, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (WK), Umesh Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Piyush Chawla, Nathan Coulter Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, Rishi Dhawan, Sayan Ghosh, Shaikb Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Ishank Jaggi, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Woakes, Chris Lynn, Manish Pandey.
RCB: Virat Kohli (Captain), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Vishnu Vinod, Sreenath Arvind, Kedar Jadhav (WK), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tymal Mills, Aniket Chaudhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: May 07, 2017 19:49 PM