Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in match number 10 of IPL 2021 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai in the first day game of the edition tomorrow. RCB are the only team who are unbeaten in the tournament after having played two games. After defeating Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL 2021 opener, they also beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in a close finish. As for KKR, after getting the better of SRH, they panicked in the chase against MI. With RCB and KKR set to take on each other, here are three player battles to watch out for.
#1 Virat Kohli vs Pat Cummins
RCB skipper Virat Kohli has got starts in both games but is yet to set the tournament on fire. In fact, he was dismissed for 33 against both MI and SRH. While Kohli would be happy that the team has managed to win both their matches so far without significant contributions from him, the captain would be hungry to perform. Kohli’s appetite for runs is insatiable. The man would know deep inside that he hasn’t delivered to expectations.
Opening the innings, Kohli is likely to face the fiery Pat Cummins. Last year, with the price tag of being the most expensive player, he seemed to be under pressure. But this season, Cummins has looked a lot more settled and effective. He did a good job with 1 for 30 against SRH and was highly impactful with 2 for 24 against MI. Cummins has been able to bowl at a swift pace and his rhythm also looks good. The Aussie loves setting up the best batsmen from the opposition. He undid Rohit Sharma with proper variations and would target Kohli’s wicket against MI.
#2 Nitish Rana vs Kyle Jamieson
Nitish Rana has been in excellent form for KKR so far. He got the team’s campaign off to a cracking start with a brilliant 80 against SRH. The innings played a major role in KKR downing SRH. In the match against MI, he continued his great form with another half-century. It looked as he would lead the team to another victory. However, he was outfoxed by leggie Rahul Chahar. And once he was stumped, KKR could never recover from the setback. Rana has batted with authority in the two games and would continue wanting to do so.
There has been massive hype around New Zealand’s pace bowling all-rounder Kyle Jamieson in the build up to the IPL. And, while he has not been sensational, he has definitely made an impact with key scalps. In the match against MI, he dismissed Suryakumar Yadav at a crucial juncture in the game. Versus SRH as well, he sent back David Warner with a smart piece of bowling, unsettling his rhythm. Both the wickets can be termed as game changing ones. Against KKR, Rana could be the big scalp Jamieson might target.
#3 Glenn Maxwell vs Shakib Al Hasan
RCB will be pleased with the form Big Show Glenn Maxwell has displayed in the two matches so far. He made a fluent 39 in the first match against MI, which aided a close chase. He then batted with unexpected maturity to score a crucial 59 against Sunrisers. It was his knock that stood as a difference between the two teams at the end of the day. Given the form Maxwell has displayed in the tournament so far, he would be all the more dangerous if he continues in the same vein.
The one way to stop Maxwell is by frustrating him and not allowing him to score. The KKR left-arm spinner is adept at keeping things tight with the ball. He also has plenty of experience to boot. Against MI, he got the big scalp of Suryakumar Yadav, enticing him into a false stroke. KKR could use him as a restrictive option against Maxwell, hoping he can do the trick. If it doesn’t come off though, the tactic could backfire as well.