Virat Kohli’s Team Bangalore are on a roll in the ongoing Indian T20 League season. The three-time finalists have won their opening games against Mumbai and Hyderabad, and are favourites against Kolkata next on Sunday at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium

Kolkata, on the other hand, have had mixed fortune so far, winning their league opener against Hyderabad in a spectacular fashion before succumbing to a 10-run defeat in a dramatic way against defending champions Mumbai.

Bangalore vs Kolkata full squads

Kolkata: Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Gurkeerat Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Tim Seifert (wicket-keeper), Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson (wicket-keeper), Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Pawan Negi, Venkatesh Iyer

Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers (wicket-keeper), Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Finn Allen (wicket-keeper), Pavan Deshpande, Shahbaz Ahamad, Adam Zampa, Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson, Dan Christian, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Srikar Bharat, Suyash Prabhudessai.

Bangalore vs Kolkata playing XI

The return of Devdutt Padikkal in the starting XI is a boost for Virat Kohli’s team. The young opener was underwhelming in his first game, largely because he was just returning from an illness. Virat Kohli will continue to open, while the bowling department is successfully led by Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Kyle Jamieson. Expect Bangalore to stick to their playing XI for the last match.

Bangalore predicted XI: Virat Kohli (captain), Devdutt Padikkal, Shahbaz Ahmed, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Washington Sundar, Daniel Christian, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal

Kolkata will want their senior players to step up against Bangalore. While their opener, Nitish Rana has been performing at his full potential, their middle-order has been underwhelming. Moreover, their senior bowler Harbhajan Singh has bowled just three overs across two matches while Prasidh Krishna is yet to find his groove. 

Kolkata predicted XI: Eoin Morgan (captain), Shubman Gill, Dinesh Kartik, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Pat Cummins, Prashidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy, Harbhajan Singh

Bangalore vs Kolkata head-to-head record in Indian T20 League

The two teams have played a total of 26 matches in the Indian T20 League so far and Kolkata hold a slight edge in their head-to-head record, winning 14 of those matches. Bangalore, on the other hand, have won 12. 

Bangalore vs Kolkata head-to-head
Bangalore Metrics Kolkata
26 Matches 26
12 Wins 14
46.15% Win % 53.85%

It is at Chennai though where things get tricky. The slow wicket of this venue has seen Bangalore win just two of their 11 games at MA Chidambaram Stadium. Kolkata are no better, to say the least. They have won just three of their 11 games at this venue. 

Bangalore vs Kolkata: Match result prediction

Since Bangalore have enjoyed a better run of form of late, they enter the tie as favourites to win the match. Despite their inferior head-to-head record against the two-time champions, Bangalore are boosted by a contingent that has delivered better goods of late.

Best performers in Bangalore vs Kolkata

Top tip: Best batsmen

Now, Virat Kohli may have scored just 66 runs in two games this season, but his record against Kolkata is something to look forward to. The Bangalore captain averages 40.27 runs in 23 innings against Kolkata, having scored a whopping 725 runs against them. This includes one century and four half-centuries. The 32-year-old even has a better record against the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Prasidh Krishna, hitting the seamers for 45 and 52 runs in four innings respectively.

For Kolkata, while they are likely to bank on Nitish Rana once again, a certain Dinesh Karthik will want to further his record against Bangalore. The wicketkeeper-batsman has accumulated 419 runs against Bangalore and considering the middle-order collapse his team had last time out, Karthik is rightly expected to be under the scanner.

Top Tip: Best bowlers

If there is one Bangalore bowler who has troubled Kolkata batsmen in the Indian T20 League, it is their star spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. The leggie has not only scalped 14 wickets in 15 innings against Kolkata but has also managed to keep his economy under 8. Furthermore, his record against Dinesh Karthik is even more impressive. In six innings, Chahal has dismissed Karthik twice while conceding just 30 runs in 31 balls.

Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh may have lost his touch in recent times, but his return against Bangalore is something Kolkata will bank on. The veteran spinner has bowled a total of 78 overs against Bangalore in the league and has picked 23 wickets at an economy of 7.23. He has also dismissed AB de Villiers thrice in his Indian T20 League career. 

Top Tip: All-rounders and wicket-keepers

Both teams have some of the best all-rounders of the sports including Glenn Maxwell, Washington Sundar, Andre Russell and Shakib Al Hasan. But since Maxwell doesn’t bowl much and Sundar can sometimes go for big runs, the safest bet would be Russell. He is Kolkata’s highest wicket-taker in the league since 2018 and his batting can also be a cause of concern.

It’s hard to pick between de Villiers and Karthik, but considering the longevity as a wicket-keeper, one can go with Dinesh Karthik. The Kolkata keeper is eight dismissals away from completing 150 dismissals as a wicketkeeper in the Indian T20 League.

Featured photo: AFP / Manjunath Kiran