A third-consecutive season of failure for the Royal Challengers Bangalore could see this squad get a serious revamp in IPL 13, but for now they will have to play out the tournament for no reward. This is a danger game for the Knight Riders who’ve slumped to sixth in the standings after losing their last three matches, and although they’re up against the bottom team on their home ground, there are no guarantees they’ll come away with the two points.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Three-consecutive losses all of a sudden has Kolkata on the ropes which is dumbfounding given how dominant they were earlier in the tournament with the unstoppable-Andre Russell flexing his muscles in just about every match. It’s back to the drawing board, and one of the vital mistakes they may have made was dropping young gun Shubman Gill back down the order after scoring his second fifty in the IPL against the Capitals at Eden Gardens. The Narine-experiment at the top of the order could be over, Gill is clearly being wasted at No. 7 and needs more time at the crease. Albeit flu-ridden, Chris Lynn returned to his destructive-best in Kolkata’s last game where he dispatched six-sixes in his entertaining 82. The likes of Nitish Rana, Robbie Uthappa and Sunil Narine seem to have lost touch with their batting form which furthermore encourages Shubman Gill to be elevated up the order. That last match against Delhi was Andre Russell’s first real failure in the 2019 IPL, he’s been a prolific-finisher for the Knight Riders this season striking at 213.69 with 312 runs on the board.
The Knight Riders still have the potential to make it all the way in 2019, but the entire playing group needs to make it happen. While some of KKR’s batsmen are searching for some form, their bowling unit is starting to increase their wicket-taking percentage which is a big tick. Windies mystery-spinner Sunil Narine has bowled brilliantly in his past two outings picking up 4 wickets, he’s one of the big improvers since the start of the tournament. Piyush Chawla also picked up a couple wickets against the Capitals with his leggies, now they just need Kuldeep Yadav to come to the party. Kuldeep hasn’t taken a wicket in four games, he’s managed just 3 wickets in eight matches which is a bit of a concern. Kolkata don’t really have any A-grade fast bowlers in their squad, it’s hurting them to a certain extent this season and could benefit the likes of Kohli and de Villiers tomorrow evening.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
It’s been a frustrating campaign for RCB to say the least, and close-losses like the one against Mumbai aren’t doing them any favours. In actual fact, the Royal Challengers have struggled to find a winning combination for the past three seasons where we’ve seen a heap of names come & go throughout that time. It comes as no surprise that Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have been the standout batsmen for Bangalore in 2019, the skipper has scored 278 and hasn’t been anywhere near his consistent-best and de Villiers is averaging 71.33 in his last four games. It was promising to see England’s Moeen Ali step up in the middle order last match with a half century that featured a rather healthy amount of sixes, 5 to be exact. I don’t like the chances of Akshdeep Nath holding his spot in the team after running out de Villiers at a crucial stage in the game, it probably cost them the win in the end.
This struggling RCB-bowling attack gets set to welcome South African spearhead Dale Steyn who should bolster their fast bowling unit significantly. Replacing the injured Nathan Coulter-Nile, the Proteas veteran brings a wealth of experience to the team with over 200 T20 wickets to him name. They haven’t been totally malnourished in the bowling department this season, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal currently sits third in the IPL’s leading wicket-takers for 2019 with 13 and has been as crucial to the team as Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. RCB’s seamers have been atrocious, simply not good enough at this level of cricket. Bangalore’s leading wicket-taker in 2018 Umesh Yadav has completely fluctuated this season, and Mohammed Siraj has been just as disappointing despite bagging 7 wickets. They’ll have no problems whatsoever slotting Dale Steyn into this struggling XI, we could even see an appearance from Washington Sundar.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Kolkata Knight Riders
- Chris Lynn
- Andre Russell
- Sunil Narine
- Robbie Uthappa
Wildcard pick – Shubman Gill
Top 4 fantasy picks – Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Virat Kohli
- AB de Villiers
- Yuzvendra Chahal
- Moeen Ali
Wildcard pick – Dale Steyn
Kolkata Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Chris Lynn 2. Shubman Gill 3. Robbie Uthappa 4. Nitish Rana 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk) 6. Andre Russell 7. Sunil Narine 8. Piyush Chawla 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Prasidh Krishna 11. Harry Gurney/Matt Kelly.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Parthiv Patel (wk) 2. Virat Kohli © 3. AB de Villiers 4. Moeen Ali 5. Marcus Stoinis 6. Shivam Dube 7. Pawan Negi/Washington Sundar 8. Dale Steyn 9. Mohammed Siraj/Kulwant Khejroliya 10. Yuzvendra Chahal 11. Navdeep Saini.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.