In the battle between the world’s best white-ball captains, Eoin Morgan and Virat Kohli, the Bengaluru franchise will hold a slight edge over Kolkata after its two wins from as many outings. Known for his tactical nous and man-management skills, the World Cup-winning English skipper will be keen to bring KKR back on track after a familiar middle-order collapse cost it the game against Mumbai Indians (MI).
After two ordinary seasons, Kolkata started its campaign in an emphatic fashion, ticking all the boxes against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). But against its nemesis MI, the KKR middle-order collapsed in an inexplicable fashion to suffer its 12th loss from 13 matches.
Morgan’s astute captaincy in using his bowling resources was the highlight as Kolkata bowled out Mumbai for a modest 152. In his new role of bowling fully at the death, Andre Russell has taken six wickets at an impressive average of 7.83 but has failed with the bat.
With 14 runs from two matches, the big-hitting Jamaican has looked a shadow of his past. On a slow Chepauk deck where batting at the death has been a concern, KKR’s bowling has been a revelation. Against the star-studded RCB which is yet to fire in unison, the Kolkata bowlers would once again look to make an impact.
It would not be a bad idea to bring in left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in place of Harbhajan Singh. Boasting a famed batting line-up that has Kohli, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Devdutt Padikkal, RCB is yet to perform to its full potential.
But it has not mattered much as Bangalore has won both its matches, with new signing Maxwell holding fort in the middle and the likes of Shahbaz Ahmed and Harshal Patel making the difference with the ball. Bought for Rs 14.25 crore at the 2021 auction, Maxwell has bounced back from a poor last season in the UAE.
Sams tests negative, joins bubble
Australia all-rounder Daniel Sams on Saturday joined the Bangalore bio-bubble after returning two negative RT-PCR results. The 28-year-old had arrived in India on April 3 with a negative COVID-19 report, but tested positive during the second test on April 7 and was in hard quarantine since then.