The second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders take on the seventh-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata for Match 27 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Both teams have played 6 matches so far in the league and while KKR have won 4 games out of those six, RCB have managed to win just two.
Hence, while the team form is definitely on KKR's side, underestimating the RCB line-up that has the likes of Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle would only be a fool man's endeavour. In the last game, the Caribbean heavyweight fired on all cylinders and ensured that the Royal Challengers put up their first 200+ score of the season, which eventually proved out to be enough for their opponents, the Gujarat Lions.
While the RCB batting, with the presence of Gayle, Kohli and AB de Villiers (subject to fitness) looks promising, it is their bowling attack, like it has been the case in the past few seasons of the league, that has been under pressure. Barring Yuzvendra Chahal, the leg spinner, who has picked up 7 wickets from 6 games, none of the RCB bowlers have been consistent enough to be retained in the side for all matches.
The Knight Riders, on the other hand, have been one of the teams to beat this season, coupled with Mumbai Indians, as they have displayed an all-round performance in almost every game that they have played. The loss in the last game against the Lions should come as a setback, though.
With the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey in form, and Sunil Narine emerging as a surprise package, the KKR top order looks quite settled. Also, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes, Kuldeep Yadav and Narine himself have been consistent with the ball and hence it would be very hard for the Royal Challengers to beat KKR away from home.
Match date: 23-04-2017
Match time: 2000 hours (IST)
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have won two games, and both of them have been won while defending targets. RCB haven't chased a target successfully so far despite having Kohli on their side, who is one of the best when it comes to chasing targets. Hence, it KKR win the toss, they might, against all expectations, choose to bat first.
The Knight Riders, on the other hand, have won three of their four games while chasing, and have lost both their games while defending targets. RCB, therefore wouldn't want them to chase a target at their home ground and would like to bowl first if they win the toss, despite their abysmal run while chasing.
As far as the predicted scores are concerned, no team has been successfully able to chase a score in excess of 190 this season, and hence, to be on a safer side, both teams would look to set a target in excess of 190, given the small ground and the fast outfield that the Eden has.
RCB's highest score while batting second has been 134/9, which they got against the Rising Pune Supergiant. The highest score registered at the Eden this season has been 188/6, which was in the last game when the Lions hunted down the target set by the home side.
This indicates that the Eden has maintained its reputation of being a high-scoring ground and one can expect a high-scoring affair tonight. Players like Gayle, Kohli, Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan, and Suryakumar Yadav have all proven themselves that this level and if any or all of them fire together in this game, we could see plenty of sixes flying around the stands.
If RCB bat first: Predicted Score – 175, Predicted Winners: Kolkata Knight Riders
If KKR bat first: Predicted Score – 170, Predicted Winners: Royal Challengers Bangalore