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A fixture that was rescheduled during the first phase of the 2021 IPL, KKR vs RCB, will take centrestage on September 20 in Abu Dhabi.
The match comes on the back of a shocking announcement from Virat Kohli, who has announced that this season will be his last as RCB captain. Taking to the franchise’s social media handles, Kohli proclaimed that he will step down at the end of the season but insisted that he will turn out in RCB colors until the day he retires.
The current season presents one of RCB’s best chances of winning the trophy in recent memory, but they will have a difficult task on their hands against KKR. The two-time champions have been one of the worst teams in the competition and are placed seventh in the points table, but the long break would’ve been welcome for them to get their affairs in order.
Both RCB and KKR have some changes in personnel for the second phase of IPL 2021. While Wanindu Hasaranga, George Garton, Dushmantha Chameera, Tim David and Akash Deep have joined the RCB squad, Tim Southee has replaced Pat Cummins in the KKR camp.
KKR’s playing XI should be fairly straightforward. While Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana will look to forget their inconsistent start to IPL 2021, Rahul Tripathi will want to keep his momentum going at No. 3. Sunil Narine and Andre Russell are fresh off fruitful campaigns in the Caribbean Premier League, and both must step up for KKR against RCB.
Lockie Ferguson’s extra pace and smarts should make up for Cummins’ absence, although KKR have some selection dilemmas in the Indian pace department, with Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Prasidh Krishna among those vying for a place in the side.
KKR and RCB are evenly matched on paper, so it’s tough to predict an outcome for a match that is happening after such a long break. The result will come down to which team executes their plans better, although it must be said that both sides have players who can win the match on their own.
How will RCB react to Kohli’s announcement? Will Devdutt Padikkal have another prolific season and cement his case to be Kohli’s successor? Will Glenn Maxwell, RCB’s leading run-scorer this year, continue his good run for the franchise? Will Yuzvendra Chahal make India regret their decision not to include him in the T20 World Cup squad?
KKR have their share of questions to answer, too. Will Shubman Gill, who recently recovered from shin splints, step up and lead the batting lineup? Will Narine and Russell translate their CPL form into IPL results? Will the experienced duo of Morgan and Dinesh Karthik take on more responsibility?
Several RCB players haven’t played top-level cricket in a while, but the same can be said about KKR. While either team could come out on top in Abu Dhabi, RCB have undergone many changes and they may take a game or two to get accustomed to the rigors of IPL cricket.
It’s never easy to pick against a quality side like RCB, who undoubtedly start as the favorites for this clash. But KKR might be able to use the relative stability in their squad to spring a surprise in what is a bold prediction that could go either way.
Prediction: KKR to win Match 31 of IPL 2021
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