Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will clash with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. While the RCB side finished at the 3rd place in the 2021 IPL points table, KKR finished the league stages at the 4th spot.
And, both RCB and KKR will enter this match on the back of highly contrasting victories in their previous matches. The KKR side decimated the Rajasthan Royals (RR) outfit by a margin of 86 runs in their final league stage clash. After scoring 171/4, the KKR side skittled out the opposition for just 85.
On the other hand, RCB were involved in a nerve wrenching thriller in their final league stage encounter against the Delhi Capitals (DC). And, Srikar Bharat was the man who helped his side to go past the finish line. With RCB needing 5 runs off the last delivery, Bharat hoisted Avesh Khan over long on to help the Virat Kohli led side win the match.
For the RCB side, the openers have been in decent form. Both Kohli and Padikkal have scored in excess of 300 runs in the tournament. While Kohli averages 28.15, Padikkal averages 32.50 in the tournament.
Srikar Bharat has stepped up for his side whenever they have needed him, with the most sparkling effort being the 78* that he scored against DC. Glenn Maxwell has proven that he is the ‘Big Show’, and has plundered a staggering 498 runs this season at a superb average of 45.27. On the bowling front, Harshal Patel (30 scalps) and Yuzvendra Chahal (16 scalps) have been amongst the wickets for the RCB side.
For KKR, Venkatesh Iyer averages an excellent 39.83 in the UAE leg, while Shubman Gill will come into the Eliminator on the back of a superb half century. Rahul Tripathi has also been in good form and has scored 377 runs at a strike rate of 142.80.
On the bowling front, Varun Chakravarthy has scalped 16 wickets with the ball, while Shivam Mavi will be high on confidence after scalping 4 wickets in KKR’s previous rubber. Sunil Narine and Lockie Ferguson have also picked up wickets as well.
The pitch at Sharjah is a decent one for batting. While the ball has stopped at times on this surface, if the willow wielders bide their time, they can then take advantage of the shorter boundaries and score big.
Predicted Playing XI for RCB and KKR
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (Captain), Devdutt Padikkal, Srikar Bharat (WK), Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, George Garton, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (Captain), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Shakib Al Hasan/Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakaravarthy
Glenn Maxwell scored a blazing 51* at a strike rate of 154.54 in RCB’s previous match against DC and played a pivotal role in his side’s victory. Maxwell has scored 4 fifties in his last 5 innings and is in ‘red hot’ form with the willow in hand. If Maxwell gets going, then it will be hard to stop him.
Varun Chakravarthy can flummox the batsmen with the subtle variations that he possesses. The right arm ‘mystery’ spinner is the 8th highest wicket taker in the tournament and has scalped 16 wickets at a good strike rate of 21.00. Chakravarthy has also been economical and has leaked runs at a good economy rate of 6.50 runs per over in IPL 2021.