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KKR vs RCB, Preview: Rejuvenated Knights take on RCB in high-voltage opening clash

After a four-month hiatus, the wait to see our Knights in action is finally coming to an end. The boys in Purple and Gold will set foot at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday, 20th September, as they resume their IPL 2021 campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a much anticipated evening encounter.  

Despite having a lukewarm start to the first half of the competition, winning two of the seven league matches, the Knight Riders looked upbeat in their training sessions prior to this high voltage clash. The boys will take immense confidence and inspiration from their 2014 championship win as the team bounced back valiantly from a similar situation to win the coveted title.

The batting unit looks formidable, with the likes of Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana set to take up the responsibility of opening the batting for the side. The southpaw will enter the tournament riding high on confidence after his debut in the white ball series against Sri Lanka earlier this year. Shubman, on the other hand, will look to create an impact after successfully recovering from an injury post the summit clash of the World Test Championship.

The Knight Riders boast of a destructive middle-order with the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell and skipper Eoin Morgan. The team management will rely heavily on the trio to guide the youngsters in the squad and give much-needed impetus in the back end of the innings.

With the wickets in UAE set to be slow and offer assistance to the spinners, the bowling unit looks lethal for the boys in Purple and Gold with quality spinners in the arsenal. Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine and Harbhajan Singh will be crucial to the fortunes of the side in conditions conducive for slow bowlers.

For the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the primary concern for the team in the two losses they suffered earlier in the season was a lack of application in the batting unit. The team was guilty of losing a flurry of wickets in the middle overs courtesy of left-arm spinners in the opposition bowling unit.

The Bangalore outfit will be bolstered by the inclusion of Wanindu Hasanranga in the ranks. The leg spinner wreaked havoc during India's tour to Sri Lanka earlier this year and has plenty of experience playing on sub-continent pitches. With Yuzvendra Chahal, the duo will look to pick up wickets in the middle overs and dent the opposition batting unit. 

The fast bowling unit led by Harshal Patel was exceptional in the first half of the season and will look to replicate the same in the upcoming matches. 

The two teams head into this much-awaited clash, with KKR marginally ahead, winning 14 games in the 27 matches played so far.

KKR squad list:

Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan (c), Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Pawan Negi, Tim Seifert, Shakib al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer.

RCB squad list:

Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pavan Deshpande, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Kyle Jamieson, Dan Christian, Suyesh Prabhudessai, KS Bharat, Tim David, Dushmantha Chameera, Wanindu Hasaranga