Two sides separated by just a solitary win, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore will lock horns with each other in an all-important clash in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The clash will be the two sides’ second meeting of the season, with RCB having won the first bout.
Kolkata Knight Riders - W L L W W
KKR have had a bizarre season, to say the least - they sit mighty in the fourth position with 10 points to their name, yet it has been a monumental struggle. Amidst a change of captaincy, Sunil Narine’s chucking controversy and a host of other issues, the side, somehow, dragged its way out of trouble against the Sunrisers over the weekend, through a Super Over. Their batting still has a long way to go but the addition of Lockie Ferguson will inject belief and confidence into the side.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - W L W W L
Unlike KKR, Royal Challengers Bangalore are in the midst of their best and the smoothest season in years. Unlike RCB teams of the past, this well-knit side has managed to find ways to win matches and this trait has seen them notch up 6 wins in just 9 games. Whilst their bowling has been laudable, they will be wary of the fact that twice in three matches, they have been dragged out of a hole by AB de Villiers. Victory on Wednesday will take the side to 14 points, two clear of Mumbai Indians.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Eoin Morgan
KKR’s batting, this season, despite looking incredibly strong on paper, has been a mess. Their batting order has been a lottery and far too often, batsmen have not valued their wickets. But one man who seems to finally be finding his groove is newly-appointed skipper Eoin Morgan. Despite not being fluent by any means, Morgan has held the fort in each of the last two games, scoring 39* and 34 respectively. His knock in the SRH encounter turned out to be vital as it was his anchoring which enabled Dinesh Karthik to slaughter the Hyderabad bowlers towards the fag end. KKR would bank on their skipper to once again stabilize the batting, come Wednesday.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - AB de Villiers
RCB keep throwing impossible scenarios and situations to AB de Villiers and yet the South African keeps delivering, seamlessly. The Reds were headed for a sure-shot defeat at the hands of Royals in their last encounter, but for a divine intervention from ABD, who struck a mind-boggling 22-ball 55 to take the side home. Across RCB’s last three games, de Villiers has produced elite knocks both whilst batting first and chasing, and that will spell trouble for KKR, whose bowlers are still finding their feet in the tournament.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Lockie Ferguson
After being benched for the first 8 games, Lockie Ferguson got his first run out in IPL 2020 on Sunday and it took all of 30 balls for the New Zealander to establish himself as KKR’s best bowler. In a spell of extreme pace that also had nifty variations, Ferguson first bamboozled the SRH batsmen in normal time, finishing with figures of 3/15, before returning in the Super Over to bowl the opposition out for just two runs. With Jofra Archer tormenting the RCB top-order in the previous game, Ferguson’s express pace could cause trouble aplenty, yet again, for the Reds.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Chris Morris
Despite having just played 4 games, Chris Morris has already thrown his name into the hat to be considered the best signing of the season. Not only has the Proteas quick clinched 9 wickets in 4 games, but he has also been incredibly economical, giving away just 5.25 runs on average. His four-wicket haul versus RR was right up there as the most complete bowling performance of the season as after striking both up-front and in the middle, the right-armer returned at the death to take 2 wickets and conceded just 4 runs off the final over. With KKR’s batting in shambles, Morris-burst could very well blow away with the Knight Riders.
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
When to Watch: Oct 21, 7.30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India)