RCB vs KKR promises to be a humdinger of an IPL 2015 contest – the only problem lies in the possibility of a thunderstorm in Bengaluru. The last time that happened, a cracker of a chase was taken away, leaving Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals to take a point each. Hopefully, the Rain Gods decide to stay away for those four hours or so on Saturday evening, giving us a game that should have runs, runs and more runs.
The Royal Challengers have gained some real momentum in IPL 2015, with two crushing wins over the Royals and the Delhi Daredevils. That momentum was quelled a little bit by the washout against RR a couple of days back, even if the RCB batting came to the fore, putting up 200 in the first innings.
We'll never know if Mitchell Starc and co. would have been able to produce another stirring performance with the white cherry, but what that game gave RCB was a little gem of a talent in Sarfaraz Khan.
The 17-year-old played some outstanding strokes in his four and six-filled knock of 45 from just 21 balls. If Sarfaraz can continue to produce the same kind of exhilarating innings consistently, it will take the pressure off the top three batsmen – Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers – considerably.
Of course, much of RCB's batting depends upon those three superstars, but if the likes of Sarfaraz and Dinesh Karthik (a reach, I know) can get that blade working to good effect, with David Wiese also to come later, it will free up Kohli, Gayle and De Villiers, and that could have a devastating effect.
Kohli said at the start of the IPL this RCB batting lineup is more balanced, and the next few games, when the pressure of the playoff places are on, will show just how strong it is. Having said that, though, it is the RCB bowling that has given RCB victories in the last couple of games – not counting the washout – and Starc has naturally played a big part.
If Starc can continue to lead from the front and give the rest of the bowlers the confidence they can knock over the opposition batsmen at will, this could very well be RCB's year.
KKR, who were beaten by the Royal Challengers thanks to a blinding innings from Chris Gayle earlier this season, will be aware of the bowling threat of RCB, and there is little doubt that Gautam Gambhir will look to bowl first, as he always does, if he wins the toss. Kohli is also likely to do the same, so that flip of the coin will play a big part.
There is no reason why KKR should want to field first every single time, because their bowling, even without Sunil Narine, is pretty potent. They have the fast bowlers who can take wickets as well as two key spinners in Piyush Chawla and Brad Hogg.
Hogg has made a tremendous impression since coming in to the team for Narine, and it will be interesting to see if the 44-year-old can continue that stellar form at a ground where spinners are usually tonked for fun.
Small grounds are never a spinner's best friend, but if Hogg and Chawla can put the skids on again, much like they did against CSK at the Eden Gardens on Thursday, they will probably come away with the two points.
Where to Watch Live
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The IPL 2015 RCB vs KKR Match 33 is scheduled for a 4 pm IST (11.30 am BST, 6.30 am ET) start. Sony Six, Sony Kix, Sony Max and Sony Aath showing the action live in India on television. The IPL 2015 game can also be watched via online live streaming on Starsports and Hotstar.
Catch the match live in the UK and Europe on Sky Sports4, with the live stream option on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports. Viewers in the US can go to ESPN to watch RCB vs KKR live, while the game can also be live streamed on ESPN Cricket.
Audience around the world need not fret over where to watch Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders live, as Cricketgateway gives you that option.