Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Cummins-less KKR hope for form reversal in UAE leg. Can a change in venue bring a change in fortunes for KKR?
Can a change in venue bring a change in fortunes for KKR?
As the situation went from bad to worse across India because of the second COVID-19 wave, the Indian Premier League too started feeling the heat off the field. As it turned out, a series of positive cases within the different team bubbles led to the postponement of the league. However, if you were to look for a small silver lining amidst the chaos that ensued from Kolkata Knight Riders' perspective, it was the break that they were desperate for.
As they lost five of their seven matches, things weren't quite falling in place and even the coach – Brendon McCullum – couldn't hide his disappointment. Now that the players and think tank has had time to reflect on the early tournament struggles, the only option for KKR is to start winning. Losing isn't an option anymore.
They are, however, resuming their IPL 2021 against their nemesis. It seems like ages ago when Royal Challengers Bangalore used to struggle against KKR. The 49 all out, and the duo of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine dominating RCB at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium are now distant memories. RCB are quickly becoming the second bogey team for KKR after Mumbai Indians. Last season when the two sides met in UAE, KKR posted 112 and 84 in the two outings. If Eoin Morgan and Co. want to turn the tide in their remaining seven matches, they need a solid restart, and a confidence boost, with a win over Virat Kohli's side. The RCB captain will also become the first player to feature in 200 matches in one T20 tournament.
When: KKR vs RCB, September 20, 2021, 6pm local time, 730pm IST
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: A hot and humid evening will welcome the players. KKR will feel more at home in Abu Dhabi with five of their seven wins coming at the venue last season. However, they were also kept to just 84/8 by RCB at the same venue. Bowlers can expect some help from the track
Head to Head: KKR 14 – 13 RCB. The last time these two sides met, RCB smashed 204 on a tricky Chennai wicket and eased to a 38-run win.
Unavailable: Pat Cummins has opted out of the UAE leg. He's been replaced by Tim Southee in the squad.
Matchups: If KKR are to even entertain any hopes of qualifying for the playoffs, they need Andre Russell to muscle attacks out of his way. Against RCB, though, another key figure will be Sunil Narine. AB de Villiers has shown a slight weakness against spinners in IPL 2021 with three dismissals in 53 balls and only 64 runs coming from him. Narine has managed to tie down de Villiers as well with the batsman making just 46 runs in 34 balls against the spinner and has been dismissed thrice. While Kohli has fallen only twice to Narine in 94 balls, he's not been able to get away and has scored just 99 runs against the spinner.
Probable XI: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan (c), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi/Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Unavailable: Washington Sundar is out injured while Daniel Sams, Adam Zampa, Finn Allen and Kane Richardson have opted out. Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Tim David, George Garton and Akash Deep are the replacements.
Tactics: One of the aspects RCB will look to better in the second half of the tournament will be their death bowling. After the Chennai leg, the bowlers have leaked runs at 12.10 and have picked just five wickets in four matches. In the last three matches, between overs 16-20, they have leaked 193 in 15 overs for just one wicket. The focus will be on Kyle Jamieson and Harshal Patel to tighten things at the death overs.
Probable XI: Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers (wk), Shahbaz Ahmed/Mohammed Azharuddeen, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
Did you know?
– Kohli is the only player to feature for the same franchise in all 14 seasons.
– De Villiers has now struck three consecutive half-centuries against KKR.
– Both Russell and Narine have a strike rate of 200 or more against RCB.
What they said:
“The conditions in subcontinent this time of the year are pretty similar. Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera are two guys who have played so much cricket for Sri Lanka and they understand how to play on pitches like these and their skillsets will be of huge help for us, playing in Dubai, understanding how hot and humid conditions can be and how the pitches will play out, they know everything” – Kohli.
“Our goal remains the same and that is to qualify for the final. We have done it before and we can do it again. And we have the squad to do it. We have to start winning and there's nothing to lose” – David Hussey.