KKR will host IPL 2019’s bottom-placed side Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens on Friday evening. There is however, a major injury concern for KKR with their most explosive player — Andre Russell — being hit on the shoulder with a bouncer during practice on Wednesday.
What makes it even more worrying is that it was the same shoulder that was hit by Delhi Capitals’ Harshal Patel during a game at the Ferozeshah Kotla a week ago. Although the team has ruled out any major injury, Russell remains doubtful for the clash against RCB.
The West Indies all-rounder is the leading run-scorer for KKR this season with 312 runs in eight games at a strike-rate of 213.69. The rest of the KKR batting line-up have been quite inconsistent although Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa have notched up 212 and 211 runs respectively.
Virat Kohli’s RCB will be pleased by the addition of Dale Steyn to the line-up after the South African paceman joined up with the squad in Kolkata. Steyn will add much-needed firepower to the floundering RCB bowling attack which has largely struggled barring leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
Steyn’s former teammate AB de Villiers has led a lone charge for the RCB this season with 307 runs in eight games, including four half-centuries. Skipper Kohli will need to step up to the plate more consistently if Bangalore hope to turn the tables on KKR.
Players to watch out for
Chris Lynn: The Australian opener is finally starting to find his range. Lynn was the most destructive batsman for KKR against Chennai Super Kings in their last game, scoring a season-high 82 in the match. The opener loves pace on the ball and RCB will provide plenty of that thanks to their pace attack.
AB de Villiers: Mr 360 has been largely subdued in IPL so far this season. Although he has scored fifties, he has failed to leave his mark on a contest. On a beautiful batting track at the Eden, De Villiers will love to make merry and change the floundering fortunes of his side.
KKR: All-rounder Russell looks doubtful for the clash after the hit he took in the nets on his shoulder. Joe Denly, picked in preliminary England World Cup squad on Wednesday, might step in for Russell if the Jamaican misses out.
RCB: Steyn is finally available for the Bangalore franchise. The South African should be a part of the XI at the expense of New Zealand’s Tim Southee.
Predicted playing XI
KKR: Dinesh Karthik (captain), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell/Joe Denly, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill and Prasidh Krishna.
RCB: Virat Kohli (captain), Parthiv Patel (wk), AB de Villiers, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Pawan Negi and Dale Steyn
KKR: Dinesh Karthik (captain), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Joe Denly, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Harry Gurnley, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, KC Cariappa, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Naik, Anrich Nortje, Prithvi Raj, Prasidh Krishna.
RCB: Virat Kohli (captain), Parthiv Patel (wk), AB de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Moeen Ali, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Devdutt Padikkal, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Heinrich Klaasen, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Akshdeep Nath, Prayas Barman, Kulwant Khejroliya, Tim Southee, Dale Steyn.
First Published: April 18, 2019, 8:03 PM IST