KKR-RCB lock horns in a do-or-die encounter in CLT20
Bangalore: 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 on Thursday.
Having suffered a narrow defeat against Warriors in the opener, the Vijay Mallya-owned side will once again be the favourites against Shahrukh Khan`s Knights, which has come into the tournament as underdogs, having lost three games on the trot, including one in the qualifying leg.
The teams will be desperate for a 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 RCB ranks can hardly be questioned but the results are yet to be seen. Their batsmen were diligent against 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 the marauding Chris Gayle, who can single-handedly take the game away on his day, as he did against KKR at the Eden during the last edition of Indian Premier League.
The hard-hitting Jamaican was not in his imperious and dominating self against Warriors. Gayle 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.
But could not convert the start into a match-winning innings. Apart from Gayle, RCB has the players provide fire power in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. 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. 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. Led by Gautam Gambhir, KKR lacked the wherewithal against the rampaging Redbacks on Tuesday night.
Baring 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 runs at ease.
Gambhir, the most expensive player, sold for a whopping USD 2.4 million, too would be eager to get back into the grind as the left hander is coming into the tournament after suffering a concussion and didn`t make a great start into tournament, scoring a mere nine runs against Redbacks after failing to open his account against Somerset.
The KKR smarting under three defeats in a row, need to rework on their bowling department, as the frontline bowlers are turning out to be expensive.
Against the Redbacks total of 188, KKR could only manage 169/9 to fall 19 runs short of the winning target.