It's do or die time in the Indian Premier League for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. They take on Kolkata Knight Riders as both teams go in search of a win in order to try and make the play-off places.
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Date: Thursday, May 22
Time: 11:30 p.m. BST, 4 p.m. local time
Live on: Sony Six, Star Sports HD, Star Sports 1 (India), ITV4 (United Kingdom), SuperSport (South Africa), OSN (UAE), SkyTV (New Zealand), Network Ten (Australia), Channel 9 (Bangladesh), Sportsnet and Omni (Canada), Sports Max (West Indies), Geo Super (Pakistan) and Starhub (Singapore).
Weather: Kolkata is very hot this time of the year and it will be no different on Thursday. Temperatures will shoot up to 40 degrees in the day time, according to AccuWeather.
It’s squeaky bum time in the IPL and the clash on Thursday is crucial for both teams. A win for KKR will take them through to the playoffs. RCB will need to win and then hope that KKR and Rajasthan Royals lose all their remaining matches and then depend on their net run rate.
Bangalore have had a pretty tough season so far with their biggest name, Chris Gayle, failing to come good. The RCB bowlers have fought valiantly with Mitchell Starc, Varun Aaron and Yuzvendra Chahal all putting in impressive performances but as a team RCB have struggled.
KKR have not exactly been hitting full tilt, but thanks to a few solid batting performances, they have managed to hold their destiny in their own hands.
A combination of the spin duo of Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan, as well as the batting prowess of Robin Uthappa, has helped KKR pick up some impressive wins. Alongside skipper Gautam Gambhir, Uthappa has managed two century-plus partnerships in the last six matches.
Those knocks have helped the Knight Riders to a five-match winning streak, which includes a nine-wicket victory over table-topping Kings XI Punjab. The momentum is certainly with the hosts.
RCB, meanwhile, have won just two out of their last five games. A visit to Eden Gardens is a massive test of character for any team and it will be even tougher with RCB having their backs against the wall.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Robin Uthappa has had a stellar season. His efforts have seen him promoted up the order and his last seven innings have seen him post 47, 65, 47, 46, 80, 40 and 67. If he can continue that sort of form, KKR will be in business.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli hasn't had the best IPL season, but 67 off 41 in his last outing against Hyderabad might have given him just a little bit of a confidence boost.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Gautam Gambhir (capt.), Manvinder Bisla, Piyush Chawla, Pat Cummins, Debabrata Das, Jacques Kallis, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Lynn, Sayan Mondal, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Veer Pratap Singh, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Robin Uthappa, Vinay Kumar and Suryakumar Yadav.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli (c), Chris Gayle, Parthiv Patel (wk), Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers, Albie Morkel, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mitchell Starc, Ravi Rampaul, Vijay Zol, Sachin Rana, Yogesh Takawale, Nic Maddinson, Sandeep Warrier, Tanmay Mishra, Harshal Patel, Shadab Jakati, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Ashok Dinda, Varun Aaron and Yuzvendra Chahal.