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Against Kolkata, tricky Eden track may not be with Kohli-AB force

Fresh from their record-breaking show, RCB batsmen face the challenge of KKR’s slow bowlers on gripping Eden surface

ipl Updated: May 16, 2016 12:24 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times
Virat Kohli,AB de Villiers,IPL 2016
RCB skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers scored individual centuries against Gujarat Lions in Bangalore on Saturday.(Vipin Kumar/ HT Photo)

One thing Royal Challengers Bangalore probably know is that getting more than 200 in Kolkata would require a more special effort than Saturday.

Rising Pune Supergiants showed how even 120 would have looked hard to achieve in Saturday’s second match in Kolkata.

So, while RCB may be in a buoyant mood after inflicting the heaviest defeat on Gujarat Lions at home, they need to adjust their strategy according to the Eden Gardens pitch if they want to stay in the reckoning for the playoffs.

If the ball turns and grips as much as it did on Saturday, RCB might struggle with just one spinner in Yuzvendra Chahal. A leg-spinner like Piyush Chawla, who turned the ball almost square, Chahal should get more returns than what he has been in Bengaluru, but lack of supporting spinners might be an issue for RCB.

Reining in hitters

Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson, who all like the ball coming on to their bat, also could be looking at a tough job at Eden. Yusuf Pathan spoke of that advantage ahead of KKR’s match against RCB on Monday.

“I congratulate them on their performance, but this will be a different pitch for them. They will have to settle down quickly. We have been playing at home, so we know how the pitch will behave,” Pathan said at a team sponsors’ event on Sunday.

Pathan show

Pathan’s unbeaten 37 in the rain-curtailed match on Saturday extend a streak of handy knocks that have contributed to wins for KKR. Sending Pathan above Shakib Al Hasan and Andre Russell was proof of Gautam Gambhir’s confidence in his ability to finish a game. And by anchoring a quick chase by never letting Pune’s bowlers to get on top of him, Pathan showed he can crack the whip when required.

The two biggest team totals of RCB have come while batting first against bowling attacks that have lacked quality spinners. Taking runs off Chawla, Sunil Narine and Shakib will be more difficult, but RCB will take heart from the way Kohli has been batting of late. The leading scorer in this IPL, Kohli has showed maturity to give the strike to the man in form but not let go of the scoring deliveries when it matters.

He has happy memories of Eden Gardens. Last time Kohli walked out to bat here, he scored an unbeaten 55 to help India chase down a tricky total against Pakistan in the World T20. However, this will be a different deal for the RCB captain.

First Published: May 16, 2016 10:54 IST