Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had a smooth ride to the playoffs and would be keen to continue their momentum. However, over the years, RCB have struggled in knock out games. There is no denying the fact they have a very strong team at disposal and if they get on a roll, they’ll be very hard to stop. There are a lot of positives for the RCB so far. The bowling has been outstanding while Glenn Maxwell has also justified the hefty price tag. However, their two stalwarts Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have blown hot and cold. The two big players need to come good in the big game. Overall, RCB will be very confident going into the match.
Meanwhile, KKR have turned things around in the most dramatic way. They struggled in India but won five of their seven games in UAE to seal a playoff berth. More than anything, it’s been a change in attitude in the KKR. The likes of Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathi have been positive from ball one and the move has worked so far. Dinesh Karthik has also looked good, playing some impactful innings. KKR have one of the best bowling lineups in the tournament, with Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine and Lockie Ferguson at their disposal. Overall, both teams have most of their bases covers and the match could well go in favour of the team that handles the pressure of a knockout better.
Pitch Report – The match will be played at the Sharjah Stadium. The surface is much slower than what it usually is and the batters have struggled quite a lot. A score around 160 can be hard to chase
Predicted XI RCB: Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Srikar Bharat (wk), Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, George Garton, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
Predicted XI KKR: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy
Glenn Maxwell – Maxwell has been outstanding for the RCB this season. He is RCB’s highest run-scorer with 498 runs at an average of 45 and a strike rate of 147. He is also a very clever spinner and can take advantage of the conditions in Sharjah.
Venkatesh Iyer – Ventaketesh Iyer has played a crucial part in KKR’s turnaround. His positive intent have kept the opposition bowlers under the pump. In a crunch game, a quickfire knock by him can set up KKR for a big score.