KKR vs RCB: Which franchise has a better squad?
Two-time winners Kolkata Knight Riders surprised everyone after a productive show in the 2018 season of the Indian Premier League. The young squad led by veteran Dinesh Karthik finished third and they kept up with the consistency that was seen under Gautam Gambhir. On the other hand, Royal Challengers Bangalore have not delivered as per expectations. We compare the squads of these two franchises.
Looking at the batting of both teams
During 2019 auction, RCB strengthened the middle-order and this will help them reduce their dependency on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. But the opening combination remains a worry. They don't have a settled pair, who can fire atop. Meanwhile, KKR have experience atop and the addition of Joe Denly was a wise decision. The middle order will revolve around Gill, DK and Nitish.
Verdict: RCB's batting unit ahead
Compared to Kolkata, RCB's batting unit is slightly ahead They have more firepower and their two legends, AB de Villiers and Kohli, can thrash any bowling line-up. RCB's middle order has some flair. KKR have several promising players, but they don't have the requisite experience.
Looking at the all-round options of both teams
RCB have utility foreign all-rounders like Moeen Ali, Marcus Stoinis and Colin de Grandhomme. But they will not play together. Debutant Shivam Dube is their main Indian all-rounder. He cannot afford to have a poor season. KKR will rely on West Indian superstars Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and new acquisition Carlos Brathwaite. These three are strong names. Nitish and Denly can bowl part-time spin.
Verdict: Kolkata have an edge in all-round department
Both teams have quality in their ranks and their all-rounders will have a crucial season in 2019. KKR have an edge here. Their experience could come into play in close matches especially with Narine and Russell. They can turn the tide in crucial moments.
How does the bowling department look like?
Umesh Yadav was on song, last season, for RCB. International bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile and Tim Southee bring solidity. Yuzvendra Chahal leads the spin attack with Washington Sundar and Pawan Negi available to support him. Kolkata have a dream spin attack with Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla supporting Narine. Their pace attack consists of youngsters, who are promising. New Zealand's Lockie Ferguson could trouble teams.
Verdict: Kolkata ahead in terms of bowling
RCB do not have quality Indian pacers in their squad, except Umesh. Spinners Sundar and Negi haven't been able to deliver consistent performances. KKR's spinners can decimate any side on their day. Russell and Brathwaite have solid T20 experience and will support the pacers.
Head-to-head meetings between the two teams
Last season, the two sides met twice and KKR came out on top both times. Kolkata beat RCB by four wickets at the Chinnaswamy in Bengaluru. KKR also got the better of RCB by six wickets at the Eden Gardens. In overall head-to-head meetings, KKR enjoy an edge over RCB. The sides have faced each other 22 times. KKR lead the show 13-9.