Crisis club Kolkata Knight Riders take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL on Wednesday. Ed Hawkins anticipates a tight contest and recommends a top bat bet...
"Does Andre Russell’s promotion to number four earn him another chance on the top bats? His win rate is down to 16.6%. Sportsbook rate him at 5/1 (16.7%)..."
Kolkata Knight Riders v Royal Challengers Bangalore
Wednesday October 21 15:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
KKR coping with crises
Kolkata Knight Riders have struggled to put together consistent performances this season. Hardly surprising considering they are in crisis.
Dinesh Karthik stepped down as captain to be replaced by Eoin Morgan and Sunil Narine has been dropped because of fears he will be called for an illegal action. Such upheaval would finish off most franchises, particularly as Narine was the fulcrum.
But KKR are hanging in there. Two wins from their final six matches should be enough for the play-offs. And they come into this one buoyant after a Super Over success against Sunrisers when Lockie Ferguson, a gun bowler, took the plaudits with five wickets.
It is tempting to argue they are batting light with pat Cummins at number seven but he has top scored twice this campaign so that has to be dismissed as a weakness.
Possible XI Tripathi, Gill, Rana, Russell, Morgan, Karthik, Cummins, Ferguson, Kuldeep, Mavi, Varun
Bangalore on course
Bangalore are back on track after a surprise hammering by Kings XI. They dished out a beating of their own to Rajasthan Royals, chasing 177 with seven wickets to spare.
AB De Villiers was the architect, smashing 55 off 22 balls. It was possibly a reaction to Bangalore deeming him not good enough to bat ahead of Shivam Dube and Washinton Sundar in the Kings match.
With only one win required for the play-offs, Bangalore look in their best shape for years. They could close to a first title so long as they give their best players the most opportunities, instead of worrying about match-ups.
Probable XI Paddikal, Finch, Kohli, De Villiers, Sundar, Dube, Gurkeerat, Morris, Udana, Saini, Chahal
2020 RCB 194-2 (De Villiers 73*, Krishna 1-42) defend-ed KKR 112-9 (Gill 34, Morris 2-17)
2019 RCB 213-4 (Kohli 100, Narine 1-32) defended KKR 203-5 (Rana 85, Saini 1-31)
KKR 206-5 (Russell 48, Negi 2-21) chased RCB 205-3 (Kohli 84, Rana 1-22)
Overall KKR 15 RCB 11
There have been 13 games at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The first-innings scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) read: 125-2/163-t/148-2/162-2/164-1/167-1/193-1/154-2/191-1/162-1/142-2/195-1/162-2. We are now clearly seeing a surface which is getting tougher to bat on and we expect scores of 160 to be the aim.
Chennai could manage only 125 against Rajasthan on Monday and even allowing for CSK's lethargy and poor gameplan they may have felt that 150 would have been a good score. We are still looking to get against high scores and going low for minimal risk at 130 or 140 is a shrewd move on the innings runs.
KKR can get foothold
These two sides, as you can see from the head-to-heads, are used to run fests on flat, road-like wickets. So how they cope on something sluggish will be interesting.
RCB are favourites at 1.855/6 with KKR 2.1011/10. Betting Bangalore at odds-on is an IPL no-no and with KKR having tightened up their bowling unit with the addition of Ferguson, they should be able to get a foothold in the game.
Also in their favour is the lack of pace that Bangalore have in their ranks. KKR have struggled against quick bowling and they should be capable of picking off this lot.
Does Andre Russell's promotion to number four in the batting earn him another chance on the top bats? His win rate is down to 16.6%. Sportsbook rate him at 5/1 (16.7%). The move up could be enough to tempt us. He has had a poor run of scores but Bangalore are his favourite team to attack - averaging 48 at a strike rate of more than 200.
With RCB prone to mucking about with their order, we note the 12/1 about Shuivam Dube and 33/1 about Washington Sundar. In a potentially low-scoring contest, these numbers look chunky.
Ed Hawkins IPL P-L
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