Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sharjah
Pro Tip: Make sure you pick the big-hitters from both sides
Our XI: Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Shubman Gill, AB de Villiers, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Chris Morris, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Navdeep Saini
Substitutes: Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna
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: All players are available for selection. Andre Russell injured his knee while fielding against the Kings XI Punjab, and though the turnaround time is quick for this game, he should make it.
Captain: Virat Kohli
Kohli has been in good touch and has scored 205 runs in the last three innings at a strike rate of 142.36. Since 2018, Kohli has scored the most runs against the Knight Riders – 283 in four innings at a strike rate of 153.8 including a hundred and two fifties.
Vice-captain: Eoin Morgan
Morgan has been among the runs in most games for the Knight Riders. He has scored 167 runs so far at a strike rate of 135.77. Since 2018, in all T20s, Morgan has hit a four or a six every 5.7 balls in the middle overs. In Sharjah, where boundaries have been coming in spades, Morgan should prosper.
Nitish Rana: Rana has been a consistent performer for the Knight Riders over the years. He has been getting starts this season but has failed to convert them into big ones. This small ground and good batting conditions should work in his favour. He also has a good record against the Royal Challengers, having scored 171 runs against them since 2018 at a strike rate of 164.42.
Shubman Gill: Gill is the highest run-getter for the Knight Riders so far this season with 220 at an average of 44. Gill is someone who could play the anchor role and bat through while the ones around him can score quickly. Given his consistency in the tournament and considering the batting conditions in Sharjah, he should come good.
Chris Morris: Morris put up a stellar show in his first match in the tournament, picking up three wickets for just 19 runs. He is a gun fielder, he can smash a few boundaries at the death, and is extremely efficient with the ball, especially towards the end of an innings. Since 2018 in the IPL, Morris has an economy of 8.78 at the death, the third best among all pacers who have bowled 100 or more balls.
Devdutt Padikkal: Padikkal has scored three fifties in six games in the tournament. He strikes at 131.32 in the powerplay in the tournament and that should only go higher at a small ground like Sharjah.
Sunil Narine: Narine had an ordinary start to the tournament but he has gotten into the groove now. He has been bowling in the second half of the innings of late and has been terrific. He becomes doubly effective when batsmen try to go after him. On a smaller ground, batsmen will go after him and that gives Narine a higher chance of getting wickets.
AB de Villiers is an alternate vice-captain option given the inexperience in the Knight Riders’ bowling. Since 2018, de Villiers has scored 107 runs in two innings against the opponents at a strike rate of 194.54.
Andre Russell injured himself in the game against the Kings XI. In case he misses this game, Tom Banton may get a look in. If he does, replace Russell with Banton and Gill with Prasidh Krishna to provide some balance.
If the same pitch as the Royals vs Capitals game is used, it may be slow and could assist some spinners, especially in the second innings. So if the Royal Challengers bowl second, consider bringing in Washington Sundar for Navdeep Saini.
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