The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League witnessed blockbuster resumption on Sunday night with (MATCH RESULT). On September 20, Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will return to action as they take on the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), led by England’s Eoin Morgan.
The RCB had an excellent first leg of the tournament, continuing on their impressive run in the last season where they reached the playoff stage. With five wins in seven matches, Kohli’s side is third in the IPL 2021 table. For the KKR, a change in captain hasn’t yet brought a change in fortunes. With only two wins in 7 games, the Knight Riders face an uphill task in the second leg to secure a playoff spot, as they are reeling at seventh position in the table.
The match between RCB and KKR will take place at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and we take a brief look at how both the sides have fared in the season so far:
Kolkata Knight Riders
Current Position: 7th
Matches won: 2
Matches lost: 5
A change in captaincy hasn’t turned the fortunes for Kolkata Knight Riders this season, as the side continues to struggle with form. After a change in leadership in the last edition which saw Eoin Morgan taking over the skipper duties from Dinesh Karthik, the Knight Riders made fresh star recruits including Shakib Al Hasan and Harbhajan Singh. However, there has been little improvement from their disappointing season in 2020.
Kolkata did make a winning start to the season against Sunrisers Hyderabad, but then faltered with four successive losses (against MI, RCB, CSK and RR).
The side's openers, Nitish Rana (201 runs in 7 games) and Shubman Gill (132 runs in 7 games) have largely struggled to provide strong starts to the side, while Morgan, who had been consistently among the runs in the 2020 season, also failed to step up in the first leg (92 runs in 7 games).
With seven games remaining, the Knight Riders would need a complete turnaround of form to keep themselves alive in the race for a playoff position.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Current Position: 3rd
Matches won: 5
Matches lost: 2
After a series of disappointing outings in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the tournament, the RCB showed some improvement in the last year’s edition where they finished fourth in the group stage. This year, the side put out stronger performances and started with a four-match winning streak.
Harshal Patel, the side's acquisition in the 2021 Auction in February, became an instant star with key performances in the first few games, assuring the Royal Challengers of a top spot throughout the first few weeks of the season. In their winning streak, Kohli's side beat defending champions Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.
However, the side's performances faltered a little towards the latter half of the first leg. A big loss against Chennai Super Kings (by 69 runs) proved a setback to the RCB. The side faced a further defeat against Punjab Kings (by 34 runs).