Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders Preview and Prediction: Will RCB Bounce Back?

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer in action for India.
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Royal Challengers Bangalore have always been the nearly side of the Indian Premier League, having never managed to get across the line despite a host of star players representing the side. Kolkata Knight Riders, meanwhile, have been one of the more successful sides, if not one of the most glamourous. Who will come out on top here in this crucial early clash? Read on for our full Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders preview and prediction:

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders Preview and Prediction

IPL So Far

Royal Challengers Bangalore looked to be in a commanding position when – spearheaded by the efforts of Faf du Plessis at the top of the order and Virat Kohli at number three – they posted 205-2 from their 20 overs. But it turned out to be at least 10 runs too few. None of the Punjab Kings batters posted a huge score, but the top six all contributed and scored reasonably quickly too, except Raj Bawa out for a golden duck, before some late Odean Smith fireworks won the contest for the Kings.

Kolkata Knight Riders got their IPL campaign off to a more promising start. In a rematch of the 2021 final – which they lost to Chennai Super Kings – an excellent bowling performance restricted CSK to just 131 from their 20, even after a late flurry of boundaries from Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni. The chase did not prove entirely straightforward on a tricky surface, but Ajinkya Rahane’s 44 held the innings together before Sam Billings and Shreyas Iyer combined to just about make sure of the win for KKR.

Expected Teams

It would be a surprise to see Royal Challengers Bangalore make any changes to their line-up. That will see du Plessis open with Anuj Rawat, with Kohli in at three and keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik at four. All-rounders Sherfane Rutherford and David Willey are both hard-hitters, with Shahbaz Ahmed and Wanindu Hasaranga also capable with both bat and ball. Harshal Patel, Mohammad Siraj – not at his best against Punjab – and Akash Deep will complete the RCB side.

Expect Kolkata to stick with their opening combination of Rahane and Venkatesh Iyer, with Iyer also a handy fast-medium bowler. Nitish Rana will bat at three with captain and star batter Shreyas Iyer at number four. Sam Billings batted well and can keep if Sheldon Jackson drops out. Andre Russell will bat at seven, with Sunil Narine at eight. Both are excellent finishers. Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee – if the Kiwi is ready to play – and Umesh Yadav will round out the Kolkata Knight Riders XI.

Prediction

There does not look to be a great deal between these two sides on paper. But the Kolkata Knight Riders batting order does look slightly more balanced than Bangalore’s thanks to their power-hitters in the lower order in the shape of the West Indian duo of Russell and Narine. Kolkata Knight Riders also have the more threatening bowling line-up, particularly if Southee plays. Those advantages aren’t huge, but it should be enough to help KKR move to 2-0 at RCB’s expense.

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