RCB will be desperate to notch their second win of the tournament and could just pull off a surprise as KKR's bowlers are going through a rough patch.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) face an uphill task to stay afloat in the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League after losing seven of their first eight games. They will be up against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an away match on April 19.
In the reverse fixture, when still looking for their first win of the season, Virat Kohli (84 off 49) and AB de Villiers (63 off 32) starred as RCB posted a healthy target of 205/3. It looked like RCB had sealed the game when KKR were reduced to 153/6 with 53 required from 18 balls. However, Andre Russell then unleashed his fury on the RCB bowlers finishing with 48* off 13 balls to seal the win with an over remaining.
This time around, it seems like a great opportunity for the Bangalore outfit to post a win against an opponent who are low on confidence having slipped from second to sixth position in the points table after suffering three straight defeats.
In fact, to make matters worse, Kolkata's dangerman Andre Russell has suffered an injury scare after being hit on his left shoulder by a bouncer during their practice.
Russell was already suffering from niggles ahead of their last match against Chennai Super Kings and had failed to fire for the first time, exposing KKR's over-reliance on the West Indies big hitter.
It remains to be seen if the Jamaican recovers in time. His absence would be a big void for KKR, who are looking to return to winning ways and reignite their campaign. To make the playoffs, KKR need to win at least four of their remaining six matches, of which three are at home.
However, even KKR will fancy their chances and seek to get back on track against a lowly RCB facing a do-or-die situation. RCB's star duo of Kohli and AB de Villiers have been in sublime form but the team has not clicked as a whole with their pace bowling being a major letdown.
While youngster Navdeep Saini has been impressive, senior pro Umesh Yadav has turned out to be a big flop, bagging two wickets at an expensive economy of 9.26.
With South African veteran pacer Dale Steyn ready to take charge as an injury replacement for Nathan Coulter-Nile midway into the IPL, the pace department will hope to get their sting back.
Kohli and de Villiers will look to fire in unison against a team whose bowling has failed to click collectively.
The KKR pace department has looked mediocre, while their famed spinners have struggled to get wickets on the batting-friendly Eden conditions here.
Meanwhile, all eyes will also be on KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik who has grabbed a surprise World Cup berth ahead of young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant. Karthik has only one half-century and an average of 18.50 so far this season.
Timing – 8 pm
Venue – Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Where to watch – Star Sports 1/1HD/1 Hindi/1HD Hindi/1 Tamil/1 Telugu/1 Kannada/1 Bangla/Select 1/Select 1HD. Online viewers can catch the action live on Hotstar.
Head to head:
The two teams have faced each other 24 times in the IPL with Kolkata boasting of 15 wins compared to RCB's 9 victories.
Andre Russell didn’t look too comfortable against Chennai in the previous game and it remains to be seen if he recovers in time.
RCB now have Dale Steyn in the ranks in place of the injured Nathan Coulter-Nile and the South African could be included in the playing XI.
RCB will be desperate to notch their second win of the tournament and could just pull off a surprise as KKR have been struggling in the bowling department.
Betting odds (bet 365)
Kolkata Knight Riders: 4/6
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 6/5
Other popular bets can be viewed on Oddschecker.com.
Pitch Report: The pitch at Eden is fast and assists pacers. However, run scoring should be relatively easy.
Moneycontrol Dream XI: AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini and Piyush Chawla.
Players to watch out for:
Virat Kohli (RCB)
The skipper has come under scrutiny for his team's poor performance but Kohli has continued to score freely, notching up 278 runs from 8 games.
Andre Russell (KKR)
The KKR talisman has 312 runs so far despite facing only 146 deliveries. He stands fifth on the list of top run-scorers and boasts of a stunning strike rate of 213.69.
IPL Points Table:
KKR have slipped down to sixth position after three consecutive defeats. RCB continue to languish at the bottom of the pile with just one win. Check out the updated points table here.(With PTI inputs)The Great Diwali Discount!
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