IPL 2013 Preview: Kolkata Knight Riders looking to exact revenge on Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens

Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders can still qualify for Playoffs © IANS

By Sarang Bhalerao

Ranchi: May 11, 2013

Kolkata Knight Riders host Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 60th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association stadium in Ranchi. Kolkata will be looking to take revenge on Bangalore after the former lost their away fixture courtesy of a Chris Gayle tornedo.

Kolkata’s middle order had been struggling until Ryan ten Doeschate stabilised the batting in the previous game against the Pune Warriors. Gautam Gambhir got into his groove with a half-century. In the previous encounter against Bangalore, Gambhir got a half century. Jacques Kallis has not been in form.

Yusuf Pathan has had an indifferent IPL. Against Bangalore he batted at No 4 and showed glimpses of his brilliance albeit for a short period. Pathan will be looking for a big score and might bat at the top in order to give impetus to Kolkata’s scoring rate. It would not be a bad idea since Kolkata still has a mathematical chance of progressing to the next stage; run-rate might come into the equation.

Kolkata’s bowling has been one-dimensional. Lakshmipathy Balaji and Rajat Bhatia have relied on their variations of pace in order to stem the flow of runs. The teams have astutely played out the strike bowler Sunil Narine and cashed in on others. Kallis has been the fastest bowler in the absence of Brett Lee and Ryan McLaren.

Bangalore on the other hand will be confident after a close four-run win over Delhi Daredevils. Virat Kohli’s 99 and AB de Villiers’ late order surge helped the team amass 77 off the final four overs. Chris Gayle missed out against Delhi but he will have sweet memories of the match against Kolkata. The West Indian had smashed a 50-ball 85 [four boundaries and nine sixes].

For Bangalore the biggest plus was Jaydev Unadkat’s five-for against Delhi. Unadkat’s variations and  disciplined line and length made life difficult for Delhi. Against his erstwhile franchise, Unadkat will be hoping to make an impact.

Spin bowling has been worry for Bangalore. Although Murali Kartik bowled well, J Syed Mohammed’s  performance off-set Kartik’s decent spell. Mohammed went for 20 off his only over against Delhi and is likely to be replaced. Vinay Kumar’s final over against Delhi went for 17; Ravi Rampaul went for 15 that highlights Bangalore’s perpetual struggle with death bowling.

In the previous encounter Kohli-Gambhir spat drew a lot of attention. It will be interesting to see the engrossing battle at the Eden Gardens since both the captains would want to establish his supremacy over the other. A humdinger is in store at Ranchi.

Teams:

Kolkata Knight Riders (Probable): Gautam Gambhir (c), Manvinder Bisla (wk), Jacques Kallis, Eoin Morgan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Rajat Bhatia, Iqbal Abdulla, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (Probable): Chris Gayle, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Moises Henriques, Saurabh Tiwary, Ravi Rampaul, R Vinay Kumar, Murali Kartik, Jaydev Unadkat, KP Appanna.

Time: 16:00 IST | 10:30 GMT

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)