Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL, Bangalore April 9, 2012

Uphill task awaits Kolkata Knight Riders

Match facts

Tuesday, April 10, Bangalore
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big Picture

As the IPL awaits a few close, high-scoring games to justify the hype, the two teams that got it off to a celebrated start in 2008 come up against each other.

Chances of any such repeat - despite the presence of Brendon McCullum, Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis in the Kolkata Knight Riders side - are remote. Royal Challengers Bangalore,who started well with a win in their first match, will only get stronger with the arrival of Tillakaratne Dilshan, even as Chris Gayle gets closer to full fitness and is expected to play. Then there is the spin combination of Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori, and it promises to be a handful. Knight Riders will have to play out of their skins to end what is becoming long enough to be called a losing streak.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.

Players to watch

Between them in their last game, Murali and Vettori went for 53 runs in eight overs and took out four recognised batsmen. If the two can keep producing similar results, Royal Challengers will be a tough side to beat.

Yusuf Pathan scored 1011 runs for Rajasthan Royals at an average of 26.6 and strike-rate of 161.2, to go with 20 wickets. For Knight Riders, though, he is yet to score a fifty after 23 games, which have yielded him just 366 runs. Is there something Shane Warne did right but Gambhir hasn't?

2011 head-to-head

Royal Challengers beat Knight Riders twice last year, comfortably in the away clash and after struggling in the return clash at home.

Stats and trivia

  • Jacques Kallis has more scores of 50 and over - 14 - than anyone else in IPL.

  • Kallis, McCullum and Gambhir have scored 36 runs in six innings between them in this season.

Quotes

"It's a tough one because Andrew [McDonald] performed so well in the last game, so there is going to be pressure on all the overseas players to keep performing and hold on to their spots."
Daniel Vettori is loving the problem of plenty

"It was a good job by the bowlers but with this kind of batting we don't deserve to win."
Gautam Gambhir pulls up the batsmen, including himself

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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