IPL 9: Kolkata Knight Riders take on Royal Challengers Bangalore today
Red-hot KKR up against batting kings Bangalore at the Eden Gardens today
Kolkata: It's just as well that the Shah Rukh Khan's men missed the matinee show on Saturday. As Kolkata Knight Riders prepared for their match against Rising Pune Supergiants at the Eden Gardens, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli were spelling out the threat they present in a flurry of fours and sixes in Bangalore.
KKR players celebrate the fall of a Rising Pune Supergiants wicket in Kolkata on Saturday. Pic/PTI
It was not the kind of show you'd want to watch before taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore. After taming RPS in Saturday's rain-truncated game, the Knights are up against another underachiever of IPL-9.
Only, unlike Dhoni & Co, who had killed their chances of qualifying for the playoff before coming here, RCB have a lot to play for. Driven by desperation, Kohli and his men are a dangerous prospect.
Having floundered and failed far too often, RCB were left with no option but to win all their games in the business end of the lengthy league. The response, against Gujarat Lions, one of the top teams this season, was stunning.
And to think RCB also have Chris Gayle! The burly Jamaican hasn't quite found his ominous form but opponents will always feel they are sitting on powder keg when he is around.
Both Kohli and De Villiers are among the top run-getters and six-hitters this season, while KL Rahul too has run into a rich vein of form. The Knights know they have a match on their hands.
If RCB, with all that firepower, are still struggling, it's because their attack has proved easy meat for opponents.
KKR themselves were beneficiaries when RCB failed to defend a total of 185 in Bangalore a fortnight ago. RCB batsmen will again be under pressure to put a huge total on the board, a task that may not be easy against a KKR's quality attack.
While KKR's run-machines have begun to deliver with poise and panache, the likes of Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan and Piyush Chawla are proving a handful for opposing batsmen. Rather ominously, Sunil Narine, feeling his way back with a new action, showed glimpses of his old self on Saturday.
Today may not be just another day in office for Kohli and his power-hitters.
Gautam Gambhir Kolkata Knight Riders
> In-form opener Robin Uthappa scores big
> Andre Russell comes good with bat and ball
> Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers have an off day
Virat Kohli Royal Challengers Bangalore
> AB and him are involved in yet another big partnership
> Opener Chris Gayle hits form at Eden Gardens
> KKR spinner Piyush Chawla is tackled well