The two teams have faced each other on 27 occasions. KKR have won 14 matches, whereas, RCB have sealed 13 wins.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season sees its second half start on Sunday in the UAE as Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians square off. Monday sees seventh-placed Kolkata Knight Riders face familiar foes Royal Challengers Bangalore in match number 31 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. KKR were below the standards in the first phase, winning just two matches out of seven games. They were beaten comprehensively by teams and the leadership qualities from Eoin Morgan went amiss. Meanwhile, RCB showed their strengths and claimed five wins out of seven to sit comfortably in third place.

Going into this match, KKR need inspiration from their senior players. The likes of Andre Russell, Morgan, Sunil Narine, and Dinesh Karthik need to step up and play their best cricket. The two-time champions cannot go hiding but come out fresh and sorted. Their batting, in particular, has lacked the bite and the bowling in parts has been ordinary. KKR need to win most of their matches in order to have an outside chance of making it to the playoffs. However, a loss to start with could well end their hopes.

RCB, who looked like a terrific unit in the first phase, are being backed to reach the playoffs for the second season in succession. They played decent cricket in the UAE last season and things could be well set for the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Glenn Maxwell to showcase their power. RCB made a host of replacement signings after several players withdrew from the second phase citing different reasons. The signing of Wanindu Hasaranga can be a match-winning moment for RCB.

Here we present all the concerned details to guide you through.

Key details of the match

The match is set to be held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. It’s scheduled to start at 7:30 PM IST. Fans can watch the action live on the Star Sports Network in their preferred languages. One can also stream the match live on the Disney+ Hotstar app (paid subscription).

Here’s the preview

KKR need to start fresh and keep everything else at bay. What they need to strike first is the balance in the playing XI. Getting back an in-form Shakib Al Hasan into the playing XI will be a positive step. KKR’s Indian top-order trio shouldn’t be tinkered with and they should go out and play with a certain sense of freedom. If Russell is promoted up as per situations, then Morgan, Shakib, and Karthik can float around. However, these players should score and build momentum. Varun Chakravarthy will lead the spin attack and have Shakib alongside him. Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna have to bring consistency. With Pat Cummins gone, Lockie Ferguson should be backed.

Confidence will be riding high for RCB, who did a decent job in the first phase, besides playing an entertaining brand of cricket. Glenn Maxwell has been RCB’s top scorer and he was instrumental for the side against KKR in the previous meeting this season. AB de Villiers is the big fish and he can make the difference once again. With Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal to add more cushion in batting, RCB have plenty of firepower. RCB have a strong unit of pacers and spin. This should help them deliver a punch.

Probable playing XIs: KKR vs RCB

KKR probable playing XI

Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (c), Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna

RCB probable playing XI

Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, AB de Villiers (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Rajat Patidar, Pavan Deshpande, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj

Dream11 team prediction (option 1)

Batsmen: AB de Villiers, Eoin Morgan, Glenn Maxwell, Nitish Rana, Devdutt Padikkal

All-rounders: Shakib Al Hasan, Wanindu Hasaranga

Bowlers: V Chakravarthy, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Lockie Ferguson

Dream11 team prediction (option 2)

Batsmen: AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Nitish Rana, Devdutt Padikkal, Rahul Tripathi

All-rounders: Andre Russell, W Hasaranga, Shakib Al Hasan

Bowlers: Kyle Jamieson, Harshal Patel, Varun Chakravarthy

Which players can be the top picks in the Dream11 team?

In batting, the likes of AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell are a must in the line-up. ABD will fancy his chances of dominating against the KKR line-up. His experience will be massive. Maxwell has been RCB’s best batsman this season and if he continues his fine run, the KKR unit could face a long night.

Shakib and Hasaranga are must-haves in the Dream11 side. Shakib has dominated the scenes in international cricket in recent matches, picking wickets aplenty. He is the in-form bowler alongside Hasaranga, who has impressed for Lanka.

In the bowling department, Chakravarthy and Harshal are two important picks. Varun can get the important scalps and break partnerships. His mystery spin will be important. Meanwhile, Harshal is the Purple Cap holder and can set the right tone.

Dream11 fantasy: Captain Choices

AB de Villiers: The big-hitting former Proteas star can be an ideal choice as captain of the side. He has 207 runs under his belt from seven games this season. What supports ABD’s cause is that he can be a serial match-winner as seen in the previous encounter against KKR and bring that extra bit of mileage.

Shakib Al Hasan:  The all-rounder is a genuine captaincy material given what he brings as a player. His left-arm spin, ability to chip in with some useful runs could help KKR big time. Shakib holds the cards for KKR and he can make the difference.

Dream11 fantasy: Vice-captain Choices

In terms of vice-captaincy, Varun Chakravarthy and Harshal are the two top choices. Both bowlers can produce match-winning moments and steal the tie in pivotal phases of the game.

Other choices: Maxwell and Rana.

Pitch report and conditions

The pitch will be two-paced and therefore both spinners and pacers will have purchase. Batsmen will target the 160-170 mark and teams could prefer chasing on this wicket. The temperature is said to be around 35-degree Celsius and with the dew factor in, toss will be crucial.

Stadium stats

The average first innings score in the IPL has been 149 in the 2020 edition. The average second innings score has been 129.

Head-to-head record

The two teams have faced each other on 27 occasions. KKR have won 14 matches, whereas, RCB have sealed 13 wins.

Match prediction

RCB have the edge certainly over KKR given their recent exploits. We feel RCB will get a win here and enhance their playoffs chances.

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