RCB bank on strong batting unit to topple KKR’s spinners in Abu Dhabi
The two iconic franchises had mixed starts to IPL 2021 in the first leg in India. While Royal Challengers Bangalore raced away to the top four with clinical performances, Kolkata Knight Riders were quite inconsistent and found themselves messing up strategies and team selections. KKR lie second from the bottom in the points table as the second IPL half beckons.
KKR’s issues have been their erratic batting line-up with Dinesh Karthik batting too high and Andre Russell, their power player, hardly getting enough time at the crease. Eoin Morgan’s batting failures further compounded their middle-order woes. At the top, they struggled for impact as Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill were consistently slow through the powerplay overs. Overall, they have just two wins from seven matches heading into the UAE leg with very slim chances of making it to the play-offs. KKR have their task cut out against a strong RCB side and have odds of 2.06 to win the game.
On the other hand, RCB enjoyed a solid first half thanks to a perfectly balanced line-up that had AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli separated by an in-form Glenn Maxwell. Devdutt Padikkal’s impressive form at the top and Harshal Patel’s rise as a death bowler further helped RCB dominate teams. They finished with five wins from seven games and so far, it is one of their best ever starts in the history of the IPL. An AB de Villiers masterclass helped them thump KKR earlier in the season and they start this game as favourites with odds of 1.68.
Overall and recent records favour Kolkata
The head to head record is slightly in favour of KKR. They have 14 wins while Bangalore have 13 wins. Earlier this season, RCB had recorded a comprehensive 38-run win over KKR, taking down their spinners, a huge advantage as they head into a sluggish Abu Dhabi surface where KKR’s spinners could be decisive.
RCB added key replacement players to further make their side stronger while KKR will be without one of their biggest players from the first half, Pat Cummins.
Keep an eye on…
AB de Villiers: The South African superstar was batting beautifully in the first half of the season. De Villiers aggregated 207 runs at an average of 51.75 and was striking at 164.28. Every time he fired, he ensured RCB got over the line.
Andre Russell: Russell had a decent season where he got 163 runs and took seven wickets in seven games. However, he has a superb record against RCB and he will be the one to watch out for as these teams face again.
TIP Glenn Maxwell is arguably RCB’s best player of spin and could take a liking to the surface and KKR’s spinners. Glenn Maxwell has odds of 4.50 to win the Player of the Match award.