Before the first time the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) faced each other at IPL 2020, there was a lot of talk around the IPL 2019 fixture between the sides. RCB’s fears of a repeat have since been put to bed with a massive 82-run victory over their opponents for tonight’s game.
Although the Royal Challengers seemed to be struggling on a deteriorating surface at Sharjah the last time around, AB de Villiers brought the team right back into it by using the smaller diameter of the ground to his advantage.
The South African’s unbeaten 73 off just 33 balls helped elevate RCB closer to the 200-mark. And, while the Kolkata franchise’s big-hitters would have struck fear in every RCB fan, the bowlers more than just did their job in restricting KKR to 112/9 in their 20 overs.
A lot has changed since then, of course. Most importantly, for KKR, their captain. Dinesh Karthik handed over the captaincy to England’s World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan in order to focus on contributing to the team with his willow.
Morgan’s captaincy has seen KKR lose to the defending champions Mumbai Indians, and then pick up a Super Over win against fellow midtable battlers, the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The fixture against Virat Kohli’s men could be as big a test as any for the Englishman, but a victory over high-flying RCB could propel them to a final flourish that could see KKR make the playoffs.
The Bangalore franchise, on the other hand, will be keen on picking up a win and marching closer to a place in the first qualifier. With plenty still at stake for both teams at IPL 2020, KKR v RCB promises to be a cracker of a contest.
IPL 2020: KKR v RCB Match Prediction
Whatever is said about AB de Villiers and his batting, it just does not seem enough. Having walked in at No.4 with RCB needing 76 off 42 balls against the Rajasthan Royals, De Villiers smashed an unbeaten 22-ball 55 in the company of Gurkeerat Singh Mann, to take his team home by seven wickets with a couple of balls to spare.
The South African wicketkeeper-batsman was particularly brutal against Jaydev Unadkat, who was sent to every part of the stadium in a 25-run penultimate over that brought RCB within touching distance of the 178-run target.
The batting, of course, has not been the only aspect to write home about with this RCB team. The team’s bowling seems to be going from strength to strength in each game.
While Washington Sundar has picked up just 5 wickets with his tidy efforts, mostly in the powerplay overs, he has maintained an impressive economy rate of under 6 so far.
The most instrumental of the lot has been the returning Chris Morris. The South African all-rounder has picked up 9 wickets in only four matches, and is RCB’s second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament behind Yuzvendra Chahal. Add to these two the likes of Chahal, Isuru Udana and Navdeep Saini, and the RCB bowling attack is one to be feared.
KKR’s bowling, on the other hand, has not been quite at the same level as the Bangalore franchise. At least that was the case until one Lockie Ferguson finally made an appearance for the Shahrukh Khan-owned team.
Ferguson repaid his captain’s faith in him with figures of 3/15 in his quota of four overs. That was before he picked up two wickets and sent the Sunrisers Hyderabad packing for just two runs in the Super Over that KKR would go on to win.
The Knights have a pretty great batting line-up as well, albeit one that is yet to fire to the best of their abilities. And, although Shubman Gill has 311 runs against his name, captain Morgan is the only other batsman with a tally upwards of 200 runs for KKR.
What they do have, however, is a potentially explosive middle-order that is waiting to make their mark on the tournament. And if the likes of Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik manage to find form, there is little any bowling attack in the world can do to stop them.
That said, it would be difficult to not back Kohli and his team to pick up the win tonight, and go level on points with the Delhi Capitals at the top of the table.
Predictions: RCB to win today’s match.Published 21 Oct 2020, 10:00 IST