Virat Kohli’s Team Bengaluru are the only side amongst the lot who are yet to win an Indian T20 League game this season. Having kickstarted their campaign on a losing note against the defending champions Chennai, Bengaluru slumped to defeat in their next three fixtures.
Next up, they welcome Dinesh Karthik’s Team Kolkata team at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in a bid to secure their first points of the campaign. Kolkata, who faced their first defeat of the season against Delhi last time out, are unbeaten against their tonight’s opponent since 2016. In their last five encounters, the visitors have won four.
Even the head-to-head statistics place Kolkata as the favourites for the tie. The two teams have clashed 22 times since the inception, with Kolkata winning 13 while Bengaluru winning mere nine.
While the pressure will be on Bengaluru, Kolkata will have to make sure they get the maximum points in order to stay up with the elites, as a win would place them up to the second spot; only behind Hyderabad due to the inferior Net Run Rate.
That being said, we look at the top picks from the game:
Batsman: Virat Kohli
Money Sharma / AFP
Although Kohli has failed to hit the ground running this season, he will have several personal milestones to achieve once he steps onto the field. To start with he needs 61 runs to become the leading run-scorer of the Indian T20 League.
As far as Kolkata is concerned, he only needs 10 runs to reach the 500-run mark against the opponent. Furthermore, facing Kolkata’s bowlers has rather been a cakewalk for the Indian skipper in the past. Against Andre Russell and Piyush Chawla, he has scored 59 (of 35 balls) and 108 (off 81 balls) runs respectively.
Bowler: Yuzvendra Chahal
Money Sharma / AFP
Despite their poor start, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has enjoyed a decent outing by picking eight wickets in just four games, thus becoming the highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Apart from that, the spinner also enjoys a reasonable spell in front of Kolkata’s batting unit and the fact that neither of Kolkata’s three hard-hitting batsmen have scored big against him is a perfect specimen.
As we speak of Robin Uthappa and captain Dinesh Karthik, the batsmen have faced 30 and 21 balls respectively from Chahal and have managed mere 39 and 25 runs from it. Andre Russell, on the other hand, carries a superlative form compared to these two, but a return of 36 from 23 deliveries from a batsman of his stature can be termed as decent.
All-rounder: Andre Russell
Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP
It had to be him, isn’t it? Two man of the match performances from three games underlines the supremacy Russell carries. His numbers are on an all-time high, while his hard-hitting prowess is sure to you give extra points. Russell, in three games, has smashed 15 sixes and is just nine runs away from reaching the 1000-run mark in the tournament.
Furthermore, his record against Bengaluru is something which is sure to bring horror to those sitting in the away dugout. The big man has scored 210 runs over the course against Bengaluru and 164 of which have come against boundaries.
He carries a similar threat with the ball, to say the least. In three games this season, he scalped five wickets and is just two wickets away from completing 50 wickets for Kolkata in the Indian T20 League.
Expect a galore of points from the all-rounder.
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