Kohli-led RCB will hope to recover from a crushing loss to Punjab Kings.
A fifth loss in seven matches, caused by another batting failure, annoyed Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum no end. McCullum’s instructions to play attacking cricket fell on deaf ears, prompting the Kiwi to suggest that a change in personnel is warranted when KKR takes on Royal Challengers Bangalore at Ahmedabad on Monday.
The likes of Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi have been patchy, while captain Eoin Morgan has struggled as well (92 runs in seven outings). The opening pair of Rana and Gill has failed to exploit the early field restrictions.
Change in the offing
To get some quick runs up top, KKR could revert to its tested strategy of using Sunil Narine as a pinch-hitting opener. If McCullum is serious about changing the playing eleven, the likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Sheldon Jackson, Karun Nair and Gurkeerat Singh are available to do his bidding.
On the bowling front, pacers Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krishna lead the pack with nine and eight wickets respectively.
RCB, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from a 34-run loss to Punjab Kings on Friday. The match was an example of the side’s reliance on batting stars Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Glenn Maxwell and A.B. de Villiers, and how things can go south if they don’t perform. The support cast of Rajat Patidar, Daniel Sams and Shahbaz Ahmed needs to step up.
The Narendra Modi Stadium pitch has offered turn, evidenced by PBKS left-arm spinner’s Harpreet Brar match-winning three-wicket haul against RCB. In Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, KKR has two quality slow bowlers who can exploit these conditions.
The form of RCB leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, however, has been a worry, taking just four wickets (avg: 47.5).