Two-time champion Kolkata Knight Riders will look to get past the disappointments of losing two key players and facing defeat in the season opener as it approaches its opening Indian Premier League home match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday.
Following its loss to Punjab Kings in the rain-affected first match, the purple-and-gold brigade was jolted when Shreyas Iyer was ruled out for the season due to a back injury. Experienced all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s unavailability was another blow.
Looking forward, the Chandrakant Pandit-coached side has signed Jason Roy for ₹ 2.8 crores. The Englishman will join the squad in Ahmedabad.
For its home encounter, KKR would take heart from the way it challenged PBKS while chasing a 190-plus target at Mohali.
The host’s batting will revolve around captain Nitish Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Afghan wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Caribbean big-hitting all-rounder Andre Russell.
KKR’s bowling is armed with pacers Tim Southee and Umesh Yadav and the spin duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy.
On a pitch that may offer something for the batters and the speedsters, KKR bowlers need to contain the strong RCB batting line-up, including the fearsome pair of Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis – who outsmarted Mumbai Indians at home – and Dinesh Karthik.
All-rounders Glenn Maxwell, Michael Bracewell and Shahbaz Ahmed provide RCB with the balance and complement its potent attack, comprising Mohammad Siraj, ‘home boy’ Akash Deep, Harshal Patel and Karn Sharma.
RCB must march ahead without its injured players, pacer Reece Topley and batter Rajat Patidar.
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