Kolkata Knight Riders host Royal Challengers Bangalore at Ranchi in the first of the two Indian Premier League (IPL) games scheduled for Sunday. The Knight Riders still have a mathematical chance of making it to the top four, but have to win their last three games by an enormous margin to increase their run-rate.
However, a win here for Bangalore will effectively seal their fate and make way for a two way battle between Hyderabad and Bangalore for fourth spot. The reverse fixture between the two sides ended in an eight wicket win for Bangalore where Chris Gayle scored a quick 85 off only 50 balls to take Bangalore over the finishing line.
Where to Watch Live
Play starts at 11.30pm BST. Live coverage is on ITV 4 and ITV 4 HD. Follow the match live, via text updates, on ESPN Cricinfo.
Kolkata have not been able to live up to the tag of defending Champions this season, having won only five of the 13 games played so far in the tournament. Gautam Gambhir's men have failed to perform consistently and are on the verge of making their way out of the tournament. Their main problem this season has been their batting, which has proved unreliable, exacerbated by the incompetence of their bowlers, who have failed to stop the leakage of runs.
However, Kolkata showed a glimmer of their old form in the game against Pune where they won convincingly by 46 runs. Ryan ten Doeschate provided the impetus in the final overs, scoring 31 runs from 21 balls, begging the question why he wasn't given an opportunity before. Gambhir finally came to the party, scoring 50 off 44 balls and the rest of the players chipped in to take the score to 152. In reply Robin Uthappa(31) and Angelo Matthews(40) provided some resistance but the rest of the Pune line-up failed to reach double figures, succumbing to a score of 106.
Bangalore will be looking to strengthen their position in the top four with a win after coming under pressure from Sunrisers Hyderabad, who are also fighting for a place in the knockouts. A loss for Bangalore will put the ball firmly in Hyderabad's court. They are currently level on points with Virat Kohli's side.
Their last game in the IPL ended in a nerve-racking four-run win over Delhi Daredevils where Bangalore, batting first, put up a total of 183 thanks to an unbeaten 99 by Virat Kohli and ample support from AB de Villiers (32). In reply Delhi were boosted by a good performance by players down the order and ended up with 179, perilously close to what would have been a consolation win for last year's Group toppers.
Kolkata Knight Riders
- Last Five (most recent first): W L W L L
- Last Result: Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Pune Warriors by 46 runs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Last Five (most recent first):W L W L L
- Last Result: Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated Delhi Daredevils by four runs.