Match 27 IPL 2017 (2017-04-23) @ Kolkata (EG)
In the last 3 IPL seasons these 2 sides have each won 3 times in head to head matches. Last season RCB won in Kolkata and KKR won in Bangalore.
RCB chased down the 183 set by KKR at Eden Garden in 2016 just using 3 batsmen. They were Gayle, Kohli and de Villers. It is ominous that all 3 are in form and should be fit to play in this match. RCB have struggled to establish a settled side and have lost 4 of their 6 matches but they will be hoping to follow up on their victory against the Lions on Tuesday. In that match they set a big total of 213 thanks to Gayle scoring 77 and Kohli getting 64. There spinners then stifled the Lions to restrict them to 192. They will gain confidence from the fact they won without AB de Villiers or Samuel Badree.
KKR have won 4 of their 6 matches so far. They were on a roll winning 3 in a row before they lost to the Lions on Friday. Pandey, Gambhir and Uthappa are in form for them with the bat. Like RCB they have decent spin bowlers but their seamers are struggling to keep the runs down.
The Eden Garden pitch has a 63% win rate for teams batting second in all IPL matches before this season. This season 2 of the 3 matches have been won by the team batting second. KKR have won once batting first and once batting second.
KKR have home advantage and are rated 1 point above RCB on the Cricsq ratings. Several bookmakers cannot split the 2 sides but KKR are currently 2.06 to win on Betfair. I think it will be a close match between 2 very similar sides but the value lies with KKR so I have backed them to win.
Following Chris Lynn's injury KKR have opened with a pitch hitter. Sunil Narine has done well in this role. He has scored 87 runs at a strike rate of 185 this season. He scored 42 off 17 balls to get the innings off to a flying start against the Lions.
Gautam Gambhir has been the other opener throughout the season. He has 229 runs with a strike rate of 138. Robin Uthappa bats at 3. He started the season slowly but is now coming into form. He has scored 174 runs at a rate of 161.
Manish Pandey is KKR's top run scorer. He has 245 runs at a strike rate of 146. Yusuf Pathan has only played 4 innings so far and has 97 runs with a strike rate of 140. Suryakumar Yadav has been slow with a strike rate of only a run a ball for his 29 runs.
KKR also have the option of de Grandhomme, Shakib Al Hasan and Chris Woakes to bat in the late middle order. De Grandomme and Shakib have only had one innings each and Woakes has been poor with 13 runs from 3 innings with a strike rate of 93.
KKR have been starting their innings fast in the powerplay but have had a problem scoring in the death overs. They should have scored well over 200 against the Lions but the innings petered out. They need to be flexible in bringing Pathan up the order to speed up the rate.
KKR's pace attack has leaked runs this IPL. Nathan Coulter-Nile is usually economical but went at 12.5 an over against the Lions. He deserves another chance as he went for 6 an over in his only other match.
Chris Woakes is KKR's top wicket taker with 7. Umesh Yadav has taken 6 wickets. Trent Boult has taken 2 wickets. The problem is all three have gone at 10 an over.
Sunil Narine has lacked wickets, only taking 4 but has been economical going at 6.4 an over. Kuldeep Yadav has been the second spinner taking 6 wickets with an economy rate of 7.6. Piyush Chawla has only played 2 matches. He has taken 2 wickets and gone for 9.9 an over. Shakib Al Hasan was back in the side against the Lions. He ended with 0 for 31 off 3 overs.
KKR need to work out how to restrict the opposition. Their bowlers could be in for another bad day if Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers get going.
RCB have struggled early in the season with the poor form of Chris Gayle and injuries to Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
De Villiers was injured for RCB's last match so Gayle returned to the side to open with Kohli. Chris Gayle returned to form with 77 runs off 38 balls. He now has 137 runs from 4 innings at a strike rate of 146. I doubt they will drop him again.
Kohli is the top rated Cricsq batsman. He has scored 154 in 3 matches at a strike rate of 133. Travis Head scored 30 off 16 balls against the Lions but will be replaced by de Villiers when he is fit. De Villiers is rated 3 on the Cricsq ratings and has 137 runs in 3 matches this season.
Kedar Jadhav is RCB's top run scorer. He started the season well before getting a run of poor scores. He was back in form with a quick-fire 38 off 16 balls against the Lions.
Mandeep Singh and Shane Watson have both batted poorly so far. Singh has 64 runs and Watson 61. They both have a strike rate of around a run a bowl. If Badree is fit again it is likely Watson will be sacrificed as the overseas player.
RCB's spinners have done well this season. Yuzvendra Chahal is the top wicket taker with 7. He has a good economy rate of 7.4 runs an over. Pawan Negi has 4 wickets with an economy rate of 6.4.
Samuel Badreethas only played in 2 matches. He was missing in the victory against the Lions. He taken 5 wickets and has a great economy rate of 5.1 an over. He is likely to return to the side if fit.
The seamers have been less impressive. RCB have rotated the bowlers in the hope of finding the right combination. There is only room for one more overseas bowler if Gayle keeps his place.
Shane Watson has only taken 2 wickets with an economy rate of 10.5. Tymal Mills gives variety. He has 3 wickets with an economy rate of 9. Adam Milne has a similar economy rate and also has 3 wickets. Billy Stanlake played 2 matches earlier in the competition. He has 2 wickets with an economy rate of 8.8.
Sreenath Aravind has 3 wickets going at 9.3 and over. Other Indian seam options include Aniket Choudhary and Stuart Binny. Binny has been more economical going at 8 an over but he rarely bowls 4 overs in a match.
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