Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli's RCB are among the favorites to win the IPL this yearIANS

One of the favorites to go all the way in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), Royal Challengers Bangalore kick off their campaign with a clash against two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on April 8.

RCB have significantly strengthened their bowling attack to add to their world-class batting talent, making them serious contenders for the title. New Zealand seamer Tim Southee and England's Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali were acquired in the auction to support the talented Indian quartet of Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar and Pawan Negi.

"The auction has gone pretty well for us," Kohli was quoted as saying by Business Standard. "I think we have one of the most balanced side we have had in many years. That pleases me a lot as a captain.

"We are not relying on one skill or the other. I think it is a great balance of spinners, fast bowlers, couple of all-rounders, spinning all-rounders, fast bowling all-rounders.

"The batting has been strong point for RCB over the years, but I think the strengthening of bowling department has been a massive boost for us from this auction. I am very optimistic about our chances heading into this IPL."

KKR are looking to make a fresh start under new captain Dinesh Karthik as they bid to win the IPL title for the third time after previous wins in 2012 and 2014.

The Knight Riders' preparation for the tournament has been hit by a serious injury to Mitchell Starc on international duty, with the franchise drafting in England's Tom Curran as replacement.

Mitchell Johnson, 36, will have to lead the bowling attack in Starc's absence, with support from Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Andre Russell, who is coming into the tournament on the back of serving a one-year ban for a doping violation.

KKR vs RCB where to watch

Match starts at 8.00pm IST. It will be broadcast live on Star Sports 1 HD and Star Sports Select 1 HD. Live streaming services are available on Hotstar.

KKR vs RCB probable teams

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Shubham Gill, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik (c), Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Mitchell Johnson, Vinay Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Brendon McCullum, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav