RCB, KKR desperate for elusive win
Beaten by Warriors in the opening match, Royal Challengers Bangalore will aim for redemption when they take on an equally desperate Kolkata Knight Riders in a do-or-die group league encounter of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament in Bangalore on Thursday.
Having suffered a narrow defeat against Warriors in the opening encounter, RCB will once again be the favourites against Shah Rukh Khan's Knight Riders, who have come into the tournament as underdogs, having lost three games on the trot, including one in the qualifying leg.
Both teams will be desperate for victory as another defeat would severely dent their chances of a semi-final berth as only top-two teams in each Group would make the last-four stage.
The talent in the RCB ranks can hardly be questioned but the results are yet to be seen. Their batsmen were diligent against the Warriors, posting a challenging total but it was their bowlers, who failed to stem the run flow and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
All eyes will be on Chris Gayle, who can single-handedly take the game away on his day, as he did against KKR at Eden Gardens during the last edition of Indian Premier League.
Image: Chris Gayle
Kohli, DeVilliers provide firepower to RCB batting
The hard-hitting Jamaican was his imperious and dominating self against Warriors and was off to a rollicking start, smashing 23 off 14 balls, adorned with two hits to the fence and two over it but could not sustain the tempo. However, he could not convert the start into a match-winning innings.
RCB also has the players in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to provide firepower to their batting line-up. Kohli made 34 against Warriors while De Villiers' game is suited to T20 requirements.
Saurabh Tiwary and Mohammed Kaif also chipped in with useful scores in the first match. Meanwhile, leading the pace attack will be left-arm bowler Dirk Nannes and Karnataka seamer Sreenath Aravind.
RCB has another talented fast bowler in Abhimanyu Mithun, but the India-discard has not lived up to his billing.
The spin department will be shouldered by skipper Daniel Vettori.
Image: Virat Kohli
Gambhir's lack of form a worry for KKR
Led by Gautam Gambhir, KKR lacked the wherewithal against the rampaging Redbacks on Tuesday night.
Barring Manoj Tiwary's 36-ball 40, their batsmen failed to post a worthy score while the bowling looked out of sorts with Brett Lee and Iqbal Abdulla giving away easy runs.
Gambhir, the most expensive player, sold for a whopping $2.4 million, will be eager to get back into rhythm after coming into the tournament following an injury break.
Gambhir was relegated to the sidelines after suffering a concussion during the 3rd Test in England. He didn't make a great start to the tournament, scoring a mere nine runs against Redbacks after failing to open his account against Somerset.KKR smarting under three defeats in a row, need to rejig their bowling department, as the frontline bowlers are proving to be expensive.
Image: Gautam Gambhir