Kolkata suffered a massive injury blow right before the start of the season. They lost their regular skipper Shreyas Iyer, who suffered a back injury during India’s final test match against Australia.
The management was expecting Iyer to recover in time and be available for the second phase of the tournament but unfortunately for them, the 28 year old will undergo surgery and thus be absent for the entire competition. Nitish Rana will shoulder the captaincy responsibility for this season; well at least for now.
In the opening game against Punjab, the former champions were outplayed by their opponents in all three departments. Keeping the rainy weather in mind, Nitish Rana opted to field first. The Kolkata bowlers failed to back their skipper’s decision as they lacked discipline and bowled waywardly during the first six overs.
Prabhsimran Singh and Shikhar Dhawan pounced onto the mistakes committed by the bowlers and gave Punjab a rollicking start. The men in purple and gold did well in the middle overs to keep the scoring at check but gave it all away during the last four to put Punjab in command going into the second innings.
Chasing 192 for victory, Kolkata lost Mandeep Singh early. Rahmanullah Gurbaz looked good for his 22 before he was castled by Aussie quickie Nathan Ellis. Skipper Rana and Impact Player Venkatesh Iyer tried to steady the ship for the visitors but just as when a partnership was building, Sikandar Raza struck with the prized wicket of the skipper.
Andre Russell came in next and hit a few lusty blows before departing. Iyer followed soon after, leaving Kolkata reeling at 138/7. Rain arrived in the 16th over and constant showers forced the umpires to call off the game, handing Punjab a 7 run win via DRS. So, now the pertinent question is- How can Kolkata move ahead without the likes of Iyer and Shakib Al Hasan?
Well they certainly have the talent in their ranks and with the recent signing of Jason Roy, they do look a potent batting unit. In the bowling front, Sunil Narine needs to step up. He was taken to the cleaners in the inaugural game and would be eager to get back to his lethal best on Thursday.
Bangalore made an ideal start to their 2023 season. They secured a comprehensive 8 wicket win over Mumbai at a full house Chinnaswamy Stadium. The bowlers first did an excellent job of restricting a batting heavy Mumbai to 171.
Thanks to Tilak Varma’s unbeaten 84. Then Virat Kohli and Faf Du Plessis put on a batting masterclass to put the game beyond Mumbai’s reach.Kohli with his wristy flicks and nimble footwork reminded us of the 2016 edition where he was scoring runs for fun. His 49 ball 82 was studded with six fours and five sixes.
No one, not even Jofra Archer escaped the wrath of Kohli. The ex Bangalore skipper smacked Archer for 28 runs in an over. He enjoyed good support from Faf from the other end. The South African scored 73 and stitched a match defining 148 run stand with Kohli. Bangalore ticked a lot of boxes in their opening match.
One of the positives for them was their bowling performance. Akash Deep Singh and Karn Sharma in particular were impressive. Deep picked up the key scalp of Rohit Sharma early in the innings whereas Karn claimed two wickets in the match. Ahead of the exciting fixture, let us have a look at how the two teams fare out on Thursday.
Match: KOL vs BAN, 9th Match, Indian T20 League 2023
Date: Thursday, April 06, 2023
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Pitch and Weather Report
The Eden Garden is historically known to produce high scoring games. The pitch is considered to be batting paradise, with the ball coming on nicely to the bat and providing even bounce. Having said that, the surface at Eden Gardens is a tad slower and the ball will not come as quickly as on other venues. The pitch also tends to deteriorate as the match progresses with cracks developing on the surface.
Temperature will range between 25 to 37 degree celsius with clear skies.
KOL vs BAN Squads
KOL: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Mandeep Singh, Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Tim Southee, Anukul Roy, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakaravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer, N Jagadeesan, Lockie Ferguson, David Wiese, Kulwant Khejroliya, Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Jason Roy
BAN: Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis (c), Glenn Maxwell, Michael Bracewell, Shahbaz Ahmed, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Karn Sharma, Harshal Patel, Akash Deep, Reece Topley, Mohammed Siraj, Suyash Prabhudessai, Anuj Rawat, Manoj Bhandage, Mahipal Lomror, David Willey, Siddarth Kaul, Sonu Yadav, Rajan Kumar, Avinash Singh, Finn Allen, Himanshu Sharma
KOL vs BAN Probable Playing XIs
KOL: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Mandeep Singh/Jason Roy, Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Tim Southee, Anukul Roy, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakaravarthy.
BAN: Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis (c), Glenn Maxwell, Michael Bracewell, Shahbaz Ahmed, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Karn Sharma, Harshal Patel, Akash Deep, Reece Topley, Mohammed Siraj.
Bangalore played good all round cricket in their opening game. Kolkata on the other hand are still struggling to find the right combination but will enjoy the home conditions. It is tough to pick a winner at this instance but looking at the current form and the team balance, we predict Bangalore to win this game.
Top Fantasy Picks
Virat Kohli: With 6706 runs under his belt, he is the top run getter in the history of this tournament. Kohli showed a glimpse of what he is truly capable of in the last game. Expect the maestro to continue his dream run with bat in hand.
Glenn Maxwell: He can bat, he can bowl and is an exceptional fielder. The Aussie international is one of the finest all rounders in this format and you can bet on him to deliver the goods on Thursday.
Andre Russell: Andre Russel is one of most fearsome names in the T20 format. He scored a 19-ball 35 in the last game against Punjab. He can also fetch you some points with his pace bowling.
Varun Chakaravarthy: On a day when all the other Kolkata bowlers were getting tonked, Varun Chakravarthy bowled a miserly spell and was even successful in picking a wicket. Chakravarthy enjoys bowling at Eden Garden and we expect him to do well in this match.