After a resounding victory against the Chennai Super Kings on Saturday, Royal Challengers Bangalore face a tough test against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday. Both the sides are on 8 points in the table and winner will justifiably take a cruclal edge as we delve into the second and final phase of group stage in IPL 2020.
On the evidence of previous match, the RCB gained the biggest positive with captain Virat Kohli returning to his run-scoring prowess. He scored an unbeaten 90 in the first innings and saw off the RCB innings after other batsmen in the top-order failed to step up -- primarily the in-form AB de Villiers who was dismissed for a duck.
The 31-year-old was also the lone batsman to put up a fight with a 39-ball 43 in the RCB's 53-run loss to Delhi Capitals on Monday.
Padikkal has been in good touch, but AB de Villiers, who played some exquisite knocks at the beginning of the tournament, has looked off colour in recent outings.
The big-hitting Aaron Finch has also struggled, failing to capitalise on his starts.
RCB bowling department, led by Yuzvendra Chahal, got a major boost with South African Chris Morris coming in to the side. The all-rounder was brilliant in his first appearance, bowling tight lines with a hint of away movement from right-handers.
For KKR, meanwhile, the biggest cause of concern will be the availability of big-hitter Andre Russell, who hurt his knee when he dived into the advertisement boards after missing a catch on Saturday.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik did not reveal the extent of the injury after the match against KXIP. "Whenever Russell gets injured, you know it is hard.
He is a very special player, he is a very special person. We need to go and look at him," he said.
KKR have battled batting inconsistencies this year. Shubman Gill has been fabulous at the top with two half centuries so far.
Skipper Karthik, who copped up a lot of criticism for his batting, was back among runs with a vital 29-ball 58 against KXIP.
KKR's bowling unit, however, has been sensational in the last two games, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and the bowlers will be high on confidence when they take on a star-studded RCB line up.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (c/wk), Eoin Morgan, Shubman Gill, Tom Banton, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Rinku Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Nikhil Naik, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Sandeep Warrier, Varun Chakravarthy and Siddhesh Lad.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Pawan Negi, Isuru Udana, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Pavan Deshpande, Adam Zampa.