Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Abu Dhabi

Pro Tip: The Knight Riders' pacers and the Royal Challengers' top order batsmen should fetch a lot of points.

Our XI: Aaron Finch, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Chris Morris, Pat Cummins, Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Lockie Ferguson

Substitutes: Devdutt Padikkal, Nitish Rana, Navdeep Saini, Wahsington Sundar

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Player availability: Ali Khan has been ruled out of the tournament and Tim Seifert is set to replace him. Otherwise, all players are available for selection.

Captain: AB de Villiers

de Villiers already has a few blinders in the tournament. He has scored 285 runs at a strike rate of 190 so far. Among all batsmen who have faced 50 or more balls at the death, de Villiers has the highest strike rate of 243.47. He had scored a 33-ball 73 the last time these two teams met.

Vice-captain: Virat Kohli

Though Kohli's strike rate of 127.57 so far has been a worry, he has not stopped scoring runs consistently. He has got 329 runs in his last six innings - including two fifties - while averaging 109.66. Kohli batting at No. 3 also gives him more balls to face, which makes him a very good choice.

Hot Picks

Chris Morris: Morris has played only four games but has already created a huge impact for the Royal Challengers. He has picked up nine wickets at an economy of just 5.25. Among all bowlers who have bowled 75 balls in the tournament, Morris has the best strike rate of 10.66 with the ball. Morris is also capable of scoring runs at a good clip in the lower order.

Shubman Gill: Gill has by far been the most consistent batsman for the Knight Riders this season. He has scored two fifties in the tournament so far and both have come at this venue. Gill will probably play the anchor again, which means a longer stay at the crease and thus more points.

Dinesh Karthik: Karthik has been short of runs so far this season, though his 141 runs have come at a fairly good strike rate of 139.6. He looked in good touch against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last game with a 14-ball 29. Since 2018 in the IPL, Karthik has a strike rate of 198.32 at the death, suggesting he could turn it on towards the end of an innings.

Also see: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Roya Challengers Bangalore live

Differential Picks

Lockie Ferguson: Ferguson was brilliant in the previous game with figures of 3 for 15 in four overs. He varied his length and pace and had the batsmen in a tangle. Since 2018 in all T20s, Ferguson has an economy of 6.47 in the middle overs with a strike rate of 21.8. At the death too, he goes at just 7.93 an over while taking a wicket every 13.7 balls.

Varun Chakravarthy: Among all the Knight Riders bowlers who have bowled ten or more overs this season, Chakravarthy has the best economy of 7.31. He is also the joint highest wicket-taker for his side this tournament with seven wickets.

Alternate Scenarios

  • Morris is an alternate vice-captain option in place of Kohli, given he averages more than two wickets per game. He can also contribute with the bat lower down as well as on the field.

  • Pat Cummins might have to sit out since Sunil Narine's action has now been cleared.

  • Compared to other teams, Aaron Finch looked most comfortable against the Knight Riders' bowling line-up, having scored 47 in their previous meeting. But Devdutt Padikkal has been more consistent, so go with your gut and pick one of the two Royal Challengers openers.