Royal Challengers Bangalore
This match in particular, and these playoffs in general, represents one last chance for Virat Kohli to complete his IPL legacy and relinquish the Royal Challengers Bangalore captaincy on a high.
Although his batting pedigree has rarely been questioned, Kohli’s continued failure to deliver a maiden IPL title for his franchise has haunted him for several years. A single final, back in 2016, is the total of the franchise’s achievements in the competition.
There will, of course, be immense pressure on the RCB but they will also find confidence in the fact that they beat league leaders Delhi Capitals in their last game. In fact, they’ve won four of their last five matches, and have a lot of momentum on their side. Their sole defeat of their last five, though, was against bottom-ranked side Sunrisers Hyderabad – a bitter pill to swallow.
RCB do have issues with their batting order. They’ve found gems in Devdutt Padikkal and Srikar Bharat, but AB de Villiers has looked off-colour this IPL. Daniel Christian has also looked uncomfortable batting at one-down.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders tasted IPL glory multiple times under Gautam Gambhir but it happened some years ago. Under Eoin Morgan, who has been supremely out of form this IPL, the trophy cabinet has made no new editions.
Morgan, despite his personal struggles, would like his chances of progressing, considering the fact that KKR have won 15 of the last 28 matches played between the two sides. It’s not a massive edge in a head-to-head race, but you better be leading rather than trailing in such comparisons.
The Shahrukh Khan-owned franchise will also find confidence in the fact that they played some superb cricket since the league resumed in the UAE, thus offsetting much of their poor displays during the Indian leg.
In their last game, they demolished Rajasthan Royals by 86 runs on a night their entire batting clicked before Shivam Mavi and Lockie Ferguson masterminded the Royals’ downfall at the score of just 85.