Kolkata Knight Riders seem to have finally found their mojo with new captain Eoin Morgan and the late inclusion of Lockie Ferguson and would look to avenge their first leg rout by Royal Challengers Bangalore when the two sides meet in the Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
It took KKR nine games and a change of captaincy to realise the true potential of the New Zealand pacer, and when they side finally brought him in, he blew away Sunrisers Hyderabad with his relentless pace and variations.
Ferguson made all the difference to yet another ordinary show from KKR, returning with sensational figures of 3/15 (four overs) and 2/2 from three balls in the Super Over.
The imposing bowler, who returned with just two wickets from five games for KKR last season, was on the money from his first ball when he claimed his national captain Kane Williamson and brilliantly mixed up his raw pace with slow deliveries.
It’s a welcome inclusion for the Morgan-led KKR who are placed fourth on the points table with five matches left and Ferguson could be the ley to take them to the playoffs at a time when their star Aussie recruit Pat Cummins (three wickets from nine matches) is not making much of an impact.
RCB, on the other hand, are ahead of KKR by two points and occupy the third place in the table after their seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals.
|Matches||RCB win||KKR win|
|RCB vs KKR||25||11||14|
AB de Villiers’ incredible 73 not out from 33 balls, which had led to an 82-run defeat last week will be still fresh in their minds. It will be interesting to see how Morgan uses Ferguson against the likes of De Villiers, RCB skipper Virat Kohli and opener Aaron Finch
Ferguson’s inclusion gave a much-needed impetus but KKR’s star all-rounder Andre Russell is still struggling. Their go-to man in the last edition, Russell has just 92 runs from nine matches at an average of 11.50. The opposition bowlers seem to have found out his weakness for short deliveries.
If his abysmal form was not enough, the Jamaican has also picked up some niggles on the field and it would not be a bad ploy to give him a breather.
In spin, it remains to be seen whether they bring in Sunil Narine, whose action has now been cleared. Kuldeep Yadav, who was included against SRH after being benched for eight matches, looked decent along with their regular spinner Varun Chakravarthy.
For RCB, de Villiers has been in ominous form for them and single-handedly won the game with an unbeaten 55 from 22 balls in their 178-run chase against the Royals.
Skipper Virat Kohli will also look to convert his starts as they look to brighten their playoff hopes with a double against KKR.
Results so far
|Match||Day/Date/Time||Venue||Result||Total points for season|
|SRH vs RCB||21 Sep, Mon (1930)||Dubai||RCB won by 10 runs||2|
|KXIP vs RCB||24 Sep, Thu (1930)||Dubai||RCB lost by 97 runs||2|
|RCB vs MI||28 Sep, Mon (1930)||Dubai||RCB won Super Over after a tied match||4|
|RCB vs RR||3 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||RCB won by 8 wickets||6|
|RCB vs DC||5 Oct, Mon (1930)||Dubai||RCB lost by 59 runs||6|
|CSK vs RCB||10 Oct, Sat (1930)||Dubai||RCB won by 37 runs||8|
|RCB vs KKR||12 Oct, Mon (1930)||Sharjah||RCB won by 82 runs||10|
|RCB vs KXIP||15 Oct, Thu (1930)||Sharjah||RCB lost by 8 wickets||10|
|RR vs RCB||17 Oct, Sat (1530)||Dubai||RCB won by 7 wickets||12|
|KKR vs MI||23 Sep, Wed (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KKR lost by 49 runs||0|
|KKR vs SRH||26 Sep, Sat (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 7 wickets||2|
|RR vs KKR||30 Sep, Wed (1930)||Dubai||KKR won by 37 runs||4|
|DC vs KKR||3 Oct, Sat (1930)||Sharjah||KKR lost by 18 runs||4|
|KKR vs CSK||7 Oct, Wed (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 10 runs||6|
|KXIP vs KKR||10 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 2 runs||8|
|RCB vs KKR||12 Oct, Mon (1930)||Sharjah||KKR lost by 82 runs||8|
|MI vs KKR||16 Oct, Fri (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KKR lost by 8 wickets||8|
|SRH vs KKR||18 Oct, Sun (1530)||Abu Dhabi||KKR won Super Over||10|
|Virat Kohli||Yuzvendra Chahal||Moeen Ali||Parthiv Patel|
|AB de Villiers||Mohammed Siraj||Pawan Negi||Shahbaz Ahmed|
|Gurkeerat Mann||Umesh Yadav||Shivam Dube||Joshua Philippe|
|Devdutt Padikkal||Navdeep Saini||Washington Sundar|
|Aaron Finch||Adam Zampa||Christopher Morris|
|Dale Steyn||Isuru Udana|
|Nitish Rana||Kuldeep Yadav||Andre Russell||Dinesh Karthik|
|Rinku Singh||Prasidh Krishna||Sunil Narine||Nikhil Shankar Naik|
|Shubman Gill||Sandeep Warrier||Pat Cummins|
|Siddhesh Lad||Shivam Mavi||Varun Chakravarthy|
|Eoin Morgan||Kamlesh Nagarkoti||Chris Green|
|Rahul Tripathi||Lockie Ferguson|
|Tom Banton||M Siddharth|
Match starts at 7.30 pm IST and will be live on Star Sports network / Disney+ Hotstar
(With PTI inputs)