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RCB vs KKR – A clash of old foes with high-voltage history

1xC Team


Match details

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Bengaluru, 1930 IST (1400 GMT)

Big picture – RCB vs KKR, a fiery rivalry

RCB vs KKR at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. That’s how it all started in 2008, when Brendon McCullum’s unbeaten 158 launched the IPL with a dream start. Over the years, the two teams have been involved in some of the iconic, and ugliest, moments in the tournament’s history.

In 2013, it was an evening of altercations in Bengaluru. It started with Gautam Gambhir having a verbal exchange with Moises Henriques after the two collided as Gambhir was going for a quick single. Later in the game, Gambhir and Virat Kohli had a go at each other, and had to be physically separated by a third Delhi boy, Rajat Bhatia.

Three years later, at the same venue, Yusuf Pathan and Andre Russell gave KKR a come-from-behind win, and Gambhir showed his emotions by kicking a chair in the dugout, an act for which he was fined 15% of his match fee.

The Kohli-Gambhir rivalry was re-ignited last season when RCB faced Lucknow Super Giants, who had Gambhir as their mentor. This year, Gambhir is back with KKR in the same role.

Both teams have started their IPL 2024 campaign on a winning note, with KKR beating Sunrisers Hyderabad and RCB winning against Punjab Kings after losing to CSK.

Team news – Narine returns as opener

Against Kings, RCB replaced Karn Sharma with Mahipal Lomror to extend their batting. The move proved to be decisive as Lomror scored a crucial 17 not out off eight balls to help RCB win the game. They are expected to go with the same plan, with Cameron Green and Glenn Maxwell doing the fifth bowler’s job. There is a case, though, to bring in Reece Topley for Alzarri Joseph, who has had figures of 1 for 81 in 7.4 overs across the first two games.

Once Sunil Narine’s weakness against the short ball was exposed, everyone thought his days as an opener in the IPL were over. But KKR made him open in their first game of this season, against Gujarat Titans, where he scored 2 off four balls before being run out. It will be interesting to see how he fares with the two-bouncer rule in place now.

Impact Player strategy

Royal Challengers Bengaluru

If RCB are batting first, Lomror can start in the playing XI and Yash Dayal replaces him in the second innings. If they are bowling first, Dayal starts with Lomror coming in during the chase.

Probable XII: 1 Virat Kohli, 2 Faf du Plessis (capt), 3 Rajat Patidar, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Cameron Green, 6 Anuj Rawat (wk), 7 Dinesh Karthik, 8 Mahipal Lomror, 9 Alzarri Joseph/Reece Topley, 10 Mayank Dagar, 11 Mohammed Siraj, 12 Yash Dayal

Kolkata Knight Riders

Ramandeep Singh starts if KKR are batting first. Suyash Sharma can replace him in the second innings. Vice versa if KKR are bowling first.

Probable XII: 1 Phil Salt (wk), 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Venkatesh Iyer, 4 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 5 Nitish Rana, 6 Rinku Singh, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Ramandeep Singh, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Harshit Rana, 11 Varun Chakravarthy, 12 Suyash Sharma

Stats that matter – Narine vs Big Three

  • RCB’s Big Three – Faf du Plessis, Kohli and Maxwell – have found it difficult to get away against Narine in T20s. Du Plessis has scored 54 in 70 balls (two dismissals) against him, Kohli 141 in 145 balls (four dismissals) and Maxwell 94 off 86 (four dismissals).
  • Kohli has not been able to put away Varun Chakravarthy either, scoring only 31 off 33 balls against him while getting out once in six innings.
  • Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer have not been able to score freely against Mohammed Siraj. Shreyas has managed only 32 off 31 balls against him while getting out twice. While Venkatesh has never got out to Siraj, he has only scored 23 off 30 balls against him. Rinku Singh, though, has carted Siraj for 22 off nine balls without getting out.
  • Across all T20s in 2024, Russell has scored 276 runs in the death overs, at a strike rate of 287.50.
  • Since the start of 2020, Narine has opened eight times in the IPL, scoring 34 runs at an average of 4.25 and a strike rate of 79.06, with just one double-digit score.

Pitch and conditions – a fresh surface

The Chinnaswamy is known for its placid pitches but the one for the previous match was not as high-scoring; Kings almost defended 176. For Friday’s game, it is a fresh pitch, once again with a tinge of green. The temperature will hover around 30°C. There’s little chance of dew.

Quotes

“My mindset is very clear, especially coming after a win and getting some runs as well. [But] I am not going to take anything for granted. RCB is an amazing team and they have some great matchwinners, who can take the game away from us. They have a good bowling unit as well. So I hope that if I face five, six, seven, eight balls in the backend, I make the best use of it. But I would love the other batters to come to the party tomorrow and at least get some time in the middle.”
Andre Russell on playing against RCB

“I think the other day’s pitch had a bit of up-and-down movement, but that’s definitely not the norm. So I think it should be a good pitch [tomorrow] with some pace in it, which should probably suit our team.”
RCB batting coach Neil McKenzie on the pitch

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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