The Indian T20 League 2021 has now entered its final stages – with Team Chennai already sealing their berth in the finals on their quest to win the tournament for the fourth time. Virat Kohli-led Team Bangalore will take on Team Kolkata tonight in Sharjah to further progress in their hunt for their first-ever Indian T20 League trophy. It won’t be an easy path for them as Team Kolkata look strong despite finishing fourth in the league rounds, and they will fancy their own chances going into the match.
Here’s our preview of the Eliminator between Team Bangalore and Team Kolkata in the Indian T20 League 2021:
At the start of the second leg of the league in the UAE, it looked like Team Bangalore were back to their former self – losing their first two matches to make it three losses in a row overall. But a combined team effort – led by Harshal Patel with the ball and Glenn Maxwell with the bat – has propelled them to the third spot. It was just one terrible night against Team Hyderabad that ruined their chances to finish in second place, and Virat Kohli’s men will be keen to not repeat those same mistakes.
There is one overarching theme to the games that Team Bangalore will play from now on – any game could be Virat Kohli’s last game as captain of his squad. Despite being the captain of both the Indian national team and Team Bangalore for years, Virat Kohli has not managed to win any silverware as captain. He has already announced his decision to step down as skipper in the Indian T20 League after this year and would like to end his captaincy on a high note by lifting the trophy.
After much experimentation in the early stages of the season, Team Bangalore have finally found their optimal starting XI, and it is unlikely that they would make any more changes. Virat Kohli has solidified himself at the top alongside Devdutt Padikkal, while the no.3 spot he vacated has been ably filled by Srikar Bharat. Glenn Maxwell has been extraordinary this season, scoring runs with a strike rate of 147. It has been the form of de Villiers that has been the only concern – but the veteran has the experience needed to rescue the team if needed. Harshal Patel, the breakthrough star of the season – will lead the bowling attack alongside Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal.
After missing the playoffs by a whisker the last two seasons, Team Kolkata will be glad to have qualified for the eliminator. They would like to make the most of this opportunity by returning to their winning ways – Team Kolkata have already lifted the trophy twice in the past and are no newcomers when it comes to the playoff rounds. A change of captaincy mid-way last season gave them a much-needed boost – with Eoin Morgan proving himself capable of the task.
Team Kolkata’s run-up to the eliminator has been a consistent team effort. The trio of Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill average just around 30, but have been key to Team Kolkata’s batting lineup. Varun Chakravarthy and Prasidh Krishna have been good with the ball. Andre Russell, known for his explosive finishes, has surprised everyone by registering the best-ever bowling figures for Team Kolkata – 5/15 against Team Mumbai. But the Jamaican’s fitness is in doubt, and Team Kolkata will be praying for his return to the team just in time for the fixture. There are unlikely to be any other changes in the Kolkata lineup.
HEAD TO HEAD
This will be the first time Team Kolkata and Team Bangalore will be facing each other in the playoff rounds of the Indian T20 League. Both sides have faced each other 28 times so far in the league, with Team Kolkata having a 15-13 record over Virat Kohli’s side. Team Bangalore won the first encounter between both sides earlier this season – with AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell propelling them to post 204 runs. But the second encounter in Abu Dhabi proved to be a shocker for Team Bangalore, where they could post only 92 runs. A batting collapse orchestrated by Andre Russell and Varun Chakravarthy gave Team Kolkata a comfortable victory in just 10 overs.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Despite the shocking loss to Team Kolkata just a few weeks ago, Team Bangalore will be heading into the fixture with confidence. They have the better squad of the two sides, and the experience of Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers has the potential to take them through to the second Qualifier. But they need to be cautious against Team Kolkata, who have the ability to catch opponents by surprise and make the most out of any opportunity.
Expect Team Bangalore to advance to the second Qualifier in a tightly contested match.
Pitch Report: Sharjah is not an easy wicket to score on, and it will be the bowlers who will primarily decide the fortunes of their teams. But the low scores lead to thrilling chases, and fans can expect a game that will be decided in the final few overs late in the night.
Team Bangalore Predicted XI: Virat Kohli(c), Devdutt Padikkal, Srikar Bharat (wk), Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, George Garton, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Team Kolkata Predicted XI: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy
When: Monday, October 11, 7:30 PM IST
Where: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Where to Watch: The match will be streamed live on Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar.
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