Eden Gardens will undoubtedly be the venue of choice tomorrow night as the Knight Riders host the Royal Challengers in the third game of the tournament. It was a bumpy-IPL 2017 for Bangalore who finished on the bottom of the points table, Virat Kohli will be looking to turn around their fortunes against a hostile Kolkata crowd which is no easy task.
The new-look Kolkata Knight Riders will be looking to take their 2018 campaign one step further than last year’s tournament after stumbling in the second qualifier against Mumbai who went on to win the title. They had been extremely impressive all season with the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn peppering the grandstand with sixes and bedazzling bullet-like striking to the boundary rope. It was strange that Manish Pandey didn’t feature in that match, he had been super-consistent to that point in the tournament averaging 49.50. Englishman Chris Woakes was the Knight Riders standout-performer with the ball, claiming 17 wickets from his thirteen games alongside Umesh Yadav who also finished the season with 17. Without either of those two bowlers in IPL 11, Kolkata will look too Mitchell Johnson, Tom Curran and Vinay Kumar to get the job done in the seam department this year. Surprisingly, Vinay Kumar played just one game for the Mumbai Indians last year claiming two wickets, expect him to be utilized more at the Knight Riders in 2018. Kolkata managed to hang onto key spinning-duo Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav who are expected to take their team deep into the tournament once again. The pair took 22 wickets between themselves in 2017, and with their entire fast bowling attack from last season missing, expect both Narine and Yadav to take a lot more wickets in IPL 11. Dinesh Karthik will take over the captaincy in 2018 as well as the responsibility of keeping wicket after Gambhir was picked up by the Daredevils. The hard-hitting Chris Lynn will play a key role at the top of the order for Kolkata if he can get through majority of the fixture, while West Indian phenomenon Andre Russell looms as a huge recruit as well.
In a forgettable IPL 10 campaign for the Royal Challengers, the best thing for Bangalore to do was have a massive cleanout after a disastrous tournament. It was unfamiliar territory for such a dominant team who were once viewed as the team to beat, now they find themselves having to restructure after winning just the three games last season. Despite all the woes Bangalore encountered, skipper Virat Kohli was still very-impressive in his ten games as he racked up four fifties in the process. It was AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle who were out of sorts, the two International superstars of the competition just never got going and it reflected in their statistics. With Gayle departing along with a host of other players, hopefully Bangalore can regain that powerhouse-status they once sustained a couple years ago in the IPL. Gayle’s departure left the door wide open for some other key recruits to the club, the most-notable of them being Brendon McCullum who scored 319 runs last season for the Gujarat Lions. Along with Baz, South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock also jumps on board in 2018 as a major signing with a wealth of experience at the top of the order for the Proteas. Leading wicket-taker for the Knight Riders last season Chris Woakes will be keen to perform against his former side in the first game if he is picked, while Pawan Negi should hold his spot in the side for IPL 11 after claiming the most wickets for the Royal Challengers in 2017 with 16 wickets. With a host of other key International signings as well as picking up Kolkata’s two leading wicket-takers from last year in Chris Woakes and Umesh Yadav, it should come as no surprise to see Bangalore back to the top of the standings in 2018.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kolkata Knight Riders | 3rd match | Kolkata (Eden Gardens)
- Robin Uthappa
- Chris Lynn
- Sunil Narine
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Andre Russell
Wildcard pick – Vinay Kumar
Top 5 fantasy picks | Royal Challengers Bangalore | 3rd match | Kolkata (Eden Gardens)
- Virat Kohli
- AB de Villiers
- Umesh Yadav
- Brendon McCullum
- Chris Woakes
Wildcard pick – Yuzvendra Chahal
Kolkata Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Chris Lynn 2. Sunil Narine 3. Robin Uthappa 4. Shubman Gill 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk) 6. Nitish Rana 7. Andre Russell 8. Piyush Chawla 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Vinay Kumar 11. Mitchell Johnson.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Parthiv Patel (wk) 2. Brendon McCullum 3. Virat Kohli © 4. AB de Villiers 5. Manan Vohra 6. Sarfaraz Khan/Mandeep Singh 7. Colin de Grandhomme 8. Chris Woakes 9. Washington Sundar/Pawan Negi 10. Yuzvendra Chahal 11. Umesh Yadav.