Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders - Indian Premier League Cricket Preview


Published: 21/05/2014

We’re still waiting for the Royal Challengers Bangalore to catch fire in this season’s IPL, and if it doesn’t happen soon then they’re going to miss out on the knockout stages for the second season in succession. This seems scarcely believable given that they have unquestionably the strongest batting in the competition, yet it has yet to performed remotely close to expectations. RCB might point to an injury to the talismanic Chris Gayle as being particularly detrimental to RCB’s performances, but there is plenty of talent elsewhere in their line-up to compensate.

Aside from Gayle’s relative malaise, one of the best limited overs players in the world has also been desperately out of form. Virat Kohli is rated by many as the best ODI and T20 player in the world, and is in many ways the future of Indian cricket, after the retirement of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. But not only has Kohli yet to produce his limited overs form in the test arena, but his crown in the limited over game has also slipped a little during this IPL campaign.

With Gayle and Kohli struggling, AB de Villiers has been absolutely key to the RCB cause, scoring three fifties and nearly 350 runs. Yuvraj Singh has also recaptured some form and has also made three fifties, and RCB and still in touch with the play-off places, despite their moderate form.

One feels that at some point RCB’s batting must start to deliver, but yet it has manifestly failed to do so thus far. With so much staked in their star batsmen, RCB are a little short in the bowling department, and the fact that the 42 year-old Muttiah Muralitharan has been opening the bowling for them in some games gives indication of how bare their bowling cupboard is, great bowler though Muralitharan undoubtedly was in his prime.

A lot of the Kolkata Knight Riders’ batting has been done by one man. Robin Uthappa has made the third most runs in the competition, and offers a very reliable element to the KKR batting. They also have two very solid players in their top order to bat around Uthappa, in the shape of Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir.

But KKR are much stronger in their bowling, in my opinion. Firstly, Sunil Narine is one of the very toughest bowlers to pick in world cricket, and his success in T20 is becoming legendary. Narine is once again near the top of the leading wicket takers in the IPL, and no match is lost until he has twirled his bewitching spell.

And KKR also have excellent back-up for Narine in the shape of South African quick Morne Morkel, wily spinner Piyush Chawla, and the Indian seamer Umesh Yadav. This is a formidable looking bowling line-up, and it will be interesting to see how RCB stand up to it. They have the batting to demolish any bowling, but with question marks over Gayle’s fitness and Kohli’s form, I have to back the Kolkata Knight Riders to come out on top here.

Selection: Kolkata Knight Riders to win

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Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (21/05/2014) but are subject to change.

21/05/2014     © Frixo 2018

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