All-time meetings: Kolkata Knight Riders W9 Royal Challengers W10
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Coach: Jacques Kallis
Captain: Dinesh Karthik
KKR have performed well in the past two seasons of the IPL reaching the playoffs in 2016 and 2017 but they will be looking to go further this season and replicate the two IPL trophy wins they have had since 2008.
Kolkata spent their entire salary in the IPL auction to secure some incredibly big name players as Australian big-hitter Chris Lynn has joined KKR for 2018, along with Mitchell Johnson, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. Although KKR have spent so much, they have focused heavily on their bowling stocks with Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa the only two high-profile specialist batsmen on the roster.
A big blow however to KKR, is the injury of paceman Mitchell Starc who will miss the entire tournament with a lower leg injury. Up and coming English bowler Tom Curran has been called on to replace Starc, with his style of bowling well suited to the shorter forms of the game.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Coach: Daniel Vettori
Captain: Virat Kohli
Royal Challengers Bangalore have never won the league as they have finished runners-up twice however only won three matches last year finishing last on the ladder so they will be keen to bounce back this year.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have collated perhaps the most impressive group of A-grade talent. Captain Virat Kohli and fast bowler Umesh Yadav headline the local talent. When looking at overseas talent, RCB have certainly stocked up. New Zealand all-rounders Corey Anderson, Colin de Grandhomme and bowler Tim Southee join former international superstar Brendon McCullum on the roster. Filling the remaining overseas player slots are South African superstars Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers along with English all-rounder Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali.
In an interesting recruiting play, RCB have recruited the entire KKR bowling line-up from last year. RCB were blown away by Kolkata’s bowlers last year after being bowled for a lowly 49 runs. At the same time, they were happy to let West Indian star Chris Gayle be signed elsewhere.
Neither team has a significant historical advantage over one another from 19 meetings KKR have won 9 and RCB winning 10. Both teams have recruited heavily for the upcoming season, as mentioned previously, with KKR going heavy on the bowling line-up whilst RCB have a bit more balance on their roster. Due to the increased depth in batting line-up, RCB are favoured to get a win here and kick off the IPL season with a victory.