Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will take on the in-form Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Eliminator of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 on Monday at Sharjah. This will the first time that these two teams will come face to face in the play-offs. IPL’s inaugural match in April 2008 was contested between these two teams and a lot has changed since then. KKR are two-time champions, while RCB are still in search of their maiden title. Virat Kohli’s team has done well this season, especially in the batting department with the likes of Devdutt Padikkal, Glenn Maxwell and Kohli himself making important contributions. The form of Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal with the ball has been crucial too. KKR on the other hand will depend on the Indian batting might of youngsters Venkatesh Iyer, Shubman Gill and Rahul Trpathi, with the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan providing the experience in crunch situations. The likes of Varun Chakravarthy and Andre Russell have the x-factor needed to succeed in big matches. Lockie Ferguson holds the key in the pace department for KKR.
Here are the five big clashes that we think can shape the way the match goes:
Shubman Gill & Venkatesh Iyer(KKR) vs Mohammed Siraj (RCB)
KKR will depend on a good start from their young openers and RCB would want that threat negated. Siraj has blown hot and cold through this season, but the time has come for him to pay back the confidence Kohli has shown in him right through. His international experience should come in handy against two talented batters.
Rahul Tripathi (KKR) vs Yuzvendra Chahal (RCB)
The right-hand bat has been in the form his life for KKR in the UAE leg. He has batted with elan against both pace and spin and taken the attack to the opposition. Chahal has been gaining momentum with some good performances and should use his googly early on to get the better of Tripathi. You need a special delivery to get a special player out.
Dinesh Karthik/Andre Russell (KKR) vs Harshal Patel (RCB)
Both Karthik and Russell have the ability to take a heavy toll on opposition attacks in the later stages of an innings. But they could face a tough adversary in Harshal Patel, who has had a record-breaking season so far. Patel has taken 30 wickets in the match and is threatening to break Dwayne Bravo’s all-time record of 32 wickets, the most in a single IPL season.
Virat Kohli (RCB) vs Varun Chakravarthy/Sunil Narine (KKR)
Virat Kohli loves the big stage, and this is a big match for RCB. A strong start from him could help the big-hitters down the order to build on the platform. His vulnerability against spin is well known and Eoin Morgan can use one of his two mystery-men to get the danger man out early.
Glenn Maxwell (RCB) vs Lockie Ferguson (CSK)
Glenn Maxwell is perhaps the most improved cricketer in IPL this season and he has provided some real muscle to RCB’s batting in the later stages. But Ferguson’s searing pace could pose challenges and this Aus-Kiwi duel will be a good one to watch if it comes through in the match.
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