THE KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS will lock horns against the Royal Challengers Bangalore today at the Eden Gardens. While the hosts are comfortably placed at no.2 position with 14 points on the table, the visitors find themselves in a desperate situation. Simply put, RCB needs to win this encounter to stay alive in the IPL.
KKR have been dominant and thrive playing in front of their home conditions and crowd. Furthermore, the two-time champs are playing with confidence and have all the momentum on their side. On the other hand, RCB have blown hot and will come into this contest as the underdogs. That said, here are a few strategies that might help the men in red overcome the men in purple.
Bat second- It’s clear that Bangalore don’t defend well. Given their lack of potency in bowling, RCB have struggled to defend big scores in the tournament. Furthermore, KKR are extremely efficient chasers and the conditions at the Eden are more favorable for chasing. We have also seen the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell coming to party while chasing and given then form they are in at the moment; it is extremely unlikely that Bangalore will come out trumps. The weather too is going to be erratic. As we saw on Saturday, thunderstorms are predicted for this match and it makes perfect sense to chase, considering that Duckworth/Lewis will come into play.
Drop Gayle and Jordan- Bangalore will need to take a harsh call on the Jamaican who hasn’t enjoyed his time with the willow in this IPL. KKR also have some quality spinners and Gayle, doesn’t particularly enjoy such an attack. Also, by dropping Gayle, RCB can rope in Travis Head, who can be dangerous in the middle-order. Also, his golden arm with the ball can pick some crucial wickets.
On the bowling front, Chris Jordan too needs to be benched. Although the English pacer picked up a bunch of wickets in the previous games, it’s difficult to see him causing any panic in the KKR line-up. Picking chinaman Tabriaz Shamsi will instead give RCB a better chance of picking some crucial wickets. The South African spinner has already proven his worth and while defending, Shamsi will prove to be a tricky customer for the men in purple.
Ask Watson to open the batting- Shane Watson’s hitting ability has been sacrificed by playing him in the middle-order. The veteran all-rounder should open the innings tonight and go after the KKR bowlers. If Watson can get off to a flying start, it will certainly lay the platform for the likes of AB, Virat and Head.
Bounce out and show hostility towards KKR openers- Although RCB seamers are prone to leaking runs, they shouldn’t shy away from attacking openers Uthappa and Gambhir. The duo has been in rich form and the more time they spend time at the crease, it will only get more difficult for RCB to stem the run flow. The likes of Varun Aaron, S Arvind and Watson should get under their skin.