Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), whose fortunes in IPL 2020 are on the rise, will look to progress further when they take on each other in match number 28 at Sharjah on Monday.
KKR go in having beaten Kings XI Punjab by two runs in their previous game. RCB, on the other hand, came up with an impressive show to sink Chennai Super Kings by 37 runs.
While their form has been improving, KKR have a few worries to deal with. Sunil Narine’s action has been reported by umpires after the match against Punjab. Another warning and Narine could be barred from bowling.
Andre Russell’s injury, which he picked up while fielding in the last game, is also a matter of concern. For RCB, they would be fretting over Aaron Finch’s form as the opener hasn’t looked in any rhythm.
As RCB and KKR take on each other, we analyse three player battles in the offing.
#1. Rahul Tripathi vs Navdeep Saini
Rahul Tripathi has added a much-needed x-factor since coming into the mix for KKR. In the first game he played against Delhi Capitals, Tripathi smashed 36 from only 16 balls batting as low as number eight.
Having realised their mistake, the KKR management sent him in to open in the very next game against CSK. Tripathi repaid their faith with a brilliant 81 from 51 balls in a winning cause. He will be expected to provide KKR with a flying start.
Tripathi will be up against RCB’s pace spearhead Navdeep Saini. After the Super Over heroics over Mumbai Indians, the fast bowler hasn’t had a great time in the tournament. In six matches, he has managed only three wickets at an economy rate of over nine.
Saini, however, did put up a fine effort against CSK, conceding only 18 runs in his four overs. He will be expected to go hard at Tripathi and unsettle him at the start of the innings.
#2. Virat Kohli vs Varun Chakravarthy
This will be one battle worth watching out for. After a string of low scores to begin the tournament, RCB skipper Virat Kohli has come into his own in the last three matches with scores of 72 not out, 43, and 90 not out.
Once Kohli gets going in the IPL, it is very difficult to stop him. Against CSK, he single-handedly pulled off a victory for RCB with a special knock, even as others in the batting department struggled. CSK will have their task cut out against Kohli.
KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy has made a habit of claiming the big wicket from his opponent in this IPL. He foxed David Warner in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, dismissed Rahul Tewatia against KKR, and sent back a well-set Shikhar Dhawan against Delhi before adding the massive scalp of MS Dhoni in the match against CSK.
Chakravarthy will have a very tough job against Kohli, though, particularly now that the RCB skipper has hit peak form.
#3. Eoin Morgan vs Washington Sundar
KKR have found a reliable middle-order batsman in Eoin Morgan. In six matches, the England ODI skipper has smashed 167 runs at a strike rate of 135.77. He has played the kind of unconventional cameos expected of him, using the reverse sweep and his batting crease to great effect. Morgan has the ability to unsettle bowlers with his unique style of play.
RCB spinner Washington Sundar is someone who loves keeping things simple, and does his job without much fuss. He is renowned in the IPL for bowling tight lines and stifling batsmen. Sundar has done an exceptional job in that context, going at under five runs at over even after having played six games.
Against CSK, Sundar dealt a massive blow to MS Dhoni’s men by dismissing Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis. With the ability he possesses, Morgan will look to put Sundar off his line. The spinner won’t succumb easily tough in what can be a tense battle.Published 12 Oct 2020, 16:57 IST