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KKR look to arrest slump in pursuit of top two

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Bangar: KKR could look at playing three spinners (3:48)

Sanjay Bangar and Shaun Tait pick their playing XIs ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore's last home game of the season, against Kolkata Knight Riders (3:48)

Match facts

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders
Bengaluru, May 7, 2017
Start time 1600 local (1030 GMT)

Head-to-head

This season: In a record-breaking performance, Kolkata Knight Riders bowled out Royal Challengers Bangalore for 49 - the IPL's lowest total - to win by 82 runs. Knight Riders, defending 131, used no spinners; Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme took three wickets each and Royal Challengers were dismissed in 9.4 overs.

Overall: Knight Riders lead 10-9 in all IPL matches but Royal Challengers have a 4-3 record against the Kolkata team in Bengaluru.

In the news

A hamstring niggle kept Robin Uthappa out of Knight Riders' last game. The team will take a call on his selection based on how he shapes up during practice on Saturday.

Chris Lynn, recovering from a shoulder injury he picked up on April 9, said he hoped to return to the side before the playoffs and was back to training this week. According to assistant coach Simon Katich, Lynn "could well be available for selection".

Nathan Coulter-Nile, RCB's nemesis last time, suffered a blow on his helmet grille against Rising Pune Supergiant and was subsequently "shaken up" and "a little bit off colour" leading up to this game, according to Katich. A call will be taken on his fitness closer to the game.

Royal Challengers are out of contention for a top-four finish. The captain Virat Kohli, after another heavy loss on Thursday, said that his team continued to "let themselves down with the bat" and that he found it "difficult to find motivation" due to their poor performance. Shane Watson has been in and out of their XI and it will not be of any surprise if Travis Head replaces him again.

Qualification scenario

A win against Royal Challengers will all but seal Knight Riders' place in the playoffs - and help them shake off any nagging doubts that might have crept in after two losses in a row. Moreover, they are chasing a top-two finish, which allows them two chances to get to the final; they will need to win at least two of their last three games for this, but might need to win all three depending on other results.

The likely XIs

Royal Challengers Bangalore 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Mandeep Singh, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 6 Shane Watson/Travis Head, 7 Pawan Negi, 8 S Aravind, 9 Samuel Badree, 10 Aniket Choudhary, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Kolkata Knight Riders 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Robin Uthappa/Sheldon Jackson (wk), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Nathan Coulter-Nile/Piyush Chawla, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Kuldeep Yadav

Strategy punt

Kolkata Knight Riders might consider legspinner Piyush Chawla, who has had considerable success against de Villiers (dismissed four times, conceding only 43 off 44 balls) and Kohli (dismissed three times, 95 off 71 balls). If Chawla plays, though, captain Gautam Gambhir will look to hold him back until Chris Gayle is dismissed. The West Indies batsman has hit Chawla for 103 runs off 57 balls.

Stats that matter

  • Sunil Narine is having his poorest IPL with the ball. He has averaged 39.71 runs for every wicket and has a strike-rate of less than a wicket per game. His economy of 8.53 in the Powerplay - where he has taken only one wicket - is the worst among all spinners this season (minimum five overs bowled).

  • Knight Riders' batting is heavily dependent on their top four. Their middle and lower order have scored at an average of 14.52 and a strike-rate of 115.97, the second-poorest among all teams - behind RCB.

  • Overall, Knight Riders have the second-worst scoring-rate at the death, and hit a boundary only every 6.1 balls.

  • In 2017, Chris Gayle has averaged 9.00 per match at the Chinnaswamy after four games. Shane Watson averages 13.66 while de Villiers averages 15.75. Each of them has scored at below a run a ball, too. Virat Kohli (106) and Kedar Jadhav (133) are the only two Royal Challengers batsmen to score more than a hundred runs this season at home.

  • Virat Kohli has smacked 137 runs off 73 balls against Umesh Yadav.