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IPL 2017: Bowling key for batting heavy Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore

Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore will need their bowling attack to punch above their weight when they face each other at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Sunday.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 23, 2017 00:59 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Kolkata Knight Riders,Royal Challengers Bangalore,Indian Premier League 2017
Kolkata Knight Riders failed to defend 187/5 against Gujarat Lions in their last match so they have a lot of catching up to do whetn they face Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Sunday. (BCCI)

Whether Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are still smarting under the Suresh Raina’s batting would be crucial to the outcome of their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) here on Sunday. The momentum shifts quickly in the IPL, so you just have to keep doing your routine, KKR bowling coach L Balaji when asked how difficult it would be to live down Friday’s loss.

Read more | Kolkata Knight Riders yet to play to full potential in IPL 2017: Jacques Kallis

A bowling attack that punched below its weight will have to deliver against a team that perhaps has heavier batting artillery. Step forward Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav. That KKR’s batsmen too are among runs could make this a battle between batting heavyweights.

De Villiers didn’t play against Sunrisers Hyderabad, RCB’s last game four days ago, because of injury but Yuzvendra Chahal said here on Saturday that he should be available. Even without De Villiers, RCB amassed 213/2, the highest in the competition going into Saturday’s matches. It was a Chris Gayle-Virat Kohli joint-venture that may have helped RCB put their batting blues --- the reason for three of their four losses --- behind them.

Read more | IPL 2017: Bowlers under pressure as Gujarat Lions face Kings XI Punjab at home

Such is the appeal of a Gayle-Kohli show with AB providing the garnishing that the Eden, which averaged around 55,000 so far, is likely to have its best turnout this term. Gayle’s 56-ball 96 made a target of 178 look easy here in 2015. In 2011, Gayle scored 102 here in 55 balls with 10 fours and seven sixes that helped RCB overhaul 171 with 11 balls to spare.

“We don’t become a bad bowling unit after just one game. RCB are down in the table, and they also will be looking for some form. Hopefully, we can use that in our favour. The boys are playing with freedom and playing well,” said Jacques Kallis, the KKR had coach after Friday’s loss to the Gujarat Lions.

Read more | Kieron Pollard and Sanjay Manjrekar pictured together after feud in IPL 2017

To that Balaji added on Saturday evening that KKR have done well getting wickets. They have taken 38 in six games, the second-highest till Friday’s games after Sunrisers Hyderabad (44). RCB have bagged 36.

“Outcomes of matches are usually not decided by economy rates. In that aspect (taking wickets), we have done exceedingly well. This is a six-week tournament and as we go on, we will do better bowling in the power plays and death,” said Balaji.

Read more | Gujarat Lions’ Suresh Raina using IPL to make case for ICC Champions Trophy

Like Lions, RCB are a batting-heavy team but with a better bowling unit. As Chahal pointed out, in Samuel Badree and Pawan Negi they now have spinners who too can go in the power plays. KKR seem slightly ahead in the spin and pace departments but on a sporting Eden wicket and where dew could again play a part, it is the batsmen who are likely to make the difference.

First Published: Apr 22, 2017 19:39 IST