Preview: Bangalore look to regain winning touch against Kolkata

AB D Villers in action during their IPL match

By Suneer Chowdhary

Kolkata: Apr 22, 2011

Bangalore will look to put their stuttering start aside when they travel to the Eden Gardens for the 24th game of the Indian Premier League against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Bangalore have lost three in a row before the streak was halted by a rained-off game while Kolkata has had three wins sandwiched between two losses.

At the moment, the Royal Challengers Bangalore s travails have more to do with their bowling. Zaheer Khan was expected to be their spearhead but the after-effects of a draining World Cup are clearly on display. Dirk Nannes has been ruled out of the tournament and his replacement which, for some reason is not Charl Langeveldt has barely looked a part.

Ryan Ninnan and Asad Pathan are inexperienced. So is Sreenath Aravind.

Daniel Vettori is their best bowler and he is not one who can run through sides; his art is based on subtlety and patience two virtues that do not find too much use in this format of the game.

Thus, in one way, the management has surprised many by getting in an opening batsman in place of Nannes. The decision would have probably also pre-empted the loss of Tillakaratne Dilshan, who will leave the Indian shores to don the grab of the latest Sri Lankan captain. Chris Gayle comes in Nannes place.

This means that the bowling line-up may not be too different from the previous game, unless, of course, the side decides change colours completely. Nuwan Pradeep could be one to get a look-in in that case, as could Langeveldt, apart from playing either a Rilee Rossouw or Luke Pomersbach at the top of the innings. The side will need to weigh their options between getting an inexperienced but fresh opening bat versus the experienced, out of form Dilshan on a track which may not be an easy one for batting.

Despite the loss to Kochi, Kolkata Knight Riders biggest plus to have come out from the three wins has been the injection of self-belief. And given the situation that the Royal Challengers find themselves in, the Knight Riders will be quietly confident of recording their fourth win.

Jacques Kallis is that kind of a batsman, whose failures in just two games elicit a response like ‘he is due for a big one in this game . Indeed, he is due in this one! Yusuf Pathan hasn t scored too many since his World Cup sojourn while Eoin Morgan needs to prove to the management that he deserves to be in the playing eleven ahead of someone like Ryan ten Doeschate.

Brett Lee went for a few runs in the previous game, because of his extra pace. A lot depends on which pitch will they play on on a slow track, he could prove to be easy meat, on a slow and one keeping low, he could make life difficult for the batsmen.

Teams

RCB (Probable): Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mayank Agarwal, AB de Villiers (wk), Virat Kohli, Saurabh Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Asad Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Daniel Vettori (c), Charl Langeveldt, Sreenath Aravind.

KKR (Probable): Manvinder Bisla , Jacques Kallis, Gautam Gambhir (c), Yusuf Pathan, Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan, Manoj Tiwary, Rajat Bhatia, Iqbal Abdulla, Brett Lee, Lakshmipathy Balaji.

Time: 16.00 pm local (1030 hours GMT)

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)

Pictures AFP