The Indian Premier League remains in Ahmedabad on Monday as the Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a clash which sees two teams at opposite ends of the table battling it out.
Both these teams begin the second half of their regular season here and both will be out to win, Kolkata to launch a tilt at the top four and Bangalore to remain in that section as they look to finally win their elusive first title.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The Kolkata Knight Riders have won just two of their opening seven matches so they clearly have plenty of work to do if they are going to get themselves into the top four come the end of the season. When you think the Knight Riders won their opening game, they have just one win in their last six outings, which came against an inconsistent Punjab Kings side so even that wasn’t the most convincing form guide.
If the Knight Riders are going to get where they want to be this season then they have to improve their batting. Their bowling has been found wanting a little bit in recent times but a lot of that has been down to the pressure which has come from their batsmen not putting up enough runs. They are going to be forced into a change to their batting order sooner rather than later, but they’ve left it so long you wonder if the players will retain any confidence in their new positions.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore were surprisingly beaten by the Punjab Kings last time out. That will have disappointed them not least because the match was there for the taking for a lot of the contest but they failed miserably with the bat. Some of that will be conditions based but also their three gun batsmen were all bowled out by some outstanding left arm spin which they are not going to encounter here. I don’t think that defeat will have done them any harm.
In the main the Bangalore bowlers have been starting to find something in recent times. I do think the pitches here suit their seamers so it will be interesting to see what they have to offer against an out of form Kolkata batting line up. The match will probably come down to whether the big three batsmen can get stuck in and if they can you would expect Bangalore to win this match unless the dew comes into play.
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I keep expecting Sunil Narine to go up and open the batting and at some point that will happen. If it is here then his impact on the match could be significant because we should expect his four overs with the ball to be quite important as well.
Glenn Maxwell has a bit of pressure on his hands here. He got out playing a big shot a couple of matches ago and then he was done up all ends up first ball in the previous game. Bangalore paid a lot of money to get him for a certain role so they can’t afford him to be out of form.
I’m not expecting a high scoring match here because I don’t think Kolkata are batting well enough for one. I’m also not convinced that Bangalore have much in them if two of the big three fail so even though the first match was high scoring between these two I’m not expecting that to be the case here. Both teams have bowlers who can come in and improve their attack and we might see them utilised here too which makes me think this will not be a high scoring game. The runs line is up at 333.5 for this one and if Kolkata don’t improve with the bat then whether they bat first or second this line won’t get touched. Even if they do this line has only been covered in one of the five matches here so far. I’ll take the under.
I’ll also put my money where my mouth is when it comes to Sunil Narine opening the batting and as such I’ll take the 25/1 that he top scores for the Knight Riders. He once clobbered a 15-ball 50 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and with Brendon McCullum calling for more aggressive intent at the top of the order, the time has surely come for the Trinidadian to open the batting. McCullum might have meant Rahul Tripathi going up the order so this bet doesn’t come without risk and we’re probably toast if Narine doesn’t open but at the prices I’ll pay to find out.
VOID – Back Under 333.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365
VOID – Back S.Narine Top Kolkata Knight Riders Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with Bet365