The teams: KKR is currently tied for top spot on the table with 14 points (technically 2nd by a minor NRR gap). While rain played spoilsport against Pune, KKR still managed a win, and had restricted RPS to just over 100 runs in 17 overs before the rain came down. With strength in both batting and bowling, any side will be find it hard to outplay KKR. RCB, in contrast, have had an exceptionally volatile tournament. 3 Kohli centuries in a season, a 229-run AB-Kohli partnership (the highest ever in a T20), yet they are in 6th place, needing at least 2 wins from their last 3 games to even have a chance. Realistically, they will need all 3 wins.
The Venue: Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The surface is slow and the spinners can expect to find some joy. KKR has won 3 and lost 2 games here this season, and rain interrupted their last encounter here against RPS.
Our picks for your fantasy teams
Piyush Chawla: It might come as a surprise, but Piyush has quietly worked his way to be KKR’s 2nd highest wicket taker in IPL 2016 with 11 wickets, behind only Andre Russell. Though he can sometimes be expensive – his economy rate this year is 7.49 – Gambhir relies on Piyush to pick up critical breakthroughs.
AB de Villiers: Need we say anything more? ABdV started the IPL 2016 slowy, which likely contributed to RCB’s failures, but he has since burst on the scene. In a breathtaking 129* off 52 balls against Gujarat, AB showcased his entire repertoire of strokeplay, and reminded us why he is the World’s #1 ranked ODI batsman today. Morkel, Russell and Co. will be actively devising a plan to take on AB.
Yuzvendra Chahal: Chahal has been a standout performer in RCB’s otherwise weak bowling this IPL. Kohli has rotated effectively every bowler this year except Watson and Chahal, which in itself is a true compliment for this 25-year old leg spinner. RCB may give him the ball early against Uthappa and Gambhir, given their recent struggles against R Ashwin.
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(Original cover artwork by Ishita Mohanty. She tweets here.)