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RCB vs KKR, Preview: Dominant Knights gear up for stern test against RCB

The Kolkata Knight Riders will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator on Monday, 11th October, at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The boys in Purple and Gold will be heading into this game against RCB marginally ahead by winning 15 of the 28 league matches played thus far in the Indian Premier League. The Knight Riders will take some confidence from their nine-wicket win in their opening encounter of the second phase of the tournament against the same opposition. 

The fearless brand of cricket incorporated by the young side has reaped massive dividends in the second phase of the league as the team won five of their seven games at UAE. The opening combination of Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill have been phenomenal for the side and have given the Knight Riders a blazing start in the first six overs.

Another significant factor in the consistent performance of the Knight Riders is the performance of Rahul Tripathi. Coming in at number three, the right-hander has amassed 377 runs in 13 innings at a strike rate of 142.80, giving the team much-needed impetus in the middle overs and at the death. In the IPL 2021, Knight Riders have scored 943 runs in the middle overs (7-15) in 14 innings at a strike rate of 129.89, the best this season among all the other teams. 

On the sluggish surface on offer at UAE, the bowling unit of the side will be heavily reliant on the experience of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakaravarthy to pick up crucial wickets in the middle overs. In the 14 matches, the team has picked up 94 wickets at an average of 22.13, making them one of the most lethal bowling units of the tournament. Shivam Mavi and Lockie Ferguson wreaked through the batting unit of the Royals in the last league game and will play a vital role with the new ball in the high-voltage clash. 

For RCB, Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell have been the mainstays of their batting unit, and the management would expect them to guide the team in this crucial encounter. With years of experience at the international level, Maxwell has been prolific, with the bat scoring 498 runs in 13 innings with six half-centuries. On the other hand, the skipper will look to anchor the innings at the top of the order along with Devdutt Padikkal and lay a solid foundation with the bat in the first half of the innings. 

With 30 wickets in 14 innings, Harshal Patel will lead the bowling attack of the Challengers. The right-arm medium pacer made optimum use of the variations all through the tournament and will look to continue his fine form in the business end of the competition. The 30-year old will be supported by Yuzvendra Chahal as they will aim to restrict the flow of runs and pick up crucial wickets in the middle overs. 

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