IPL 2021: Strongest XI for KKR vs RCB for the Eliminator

IPL 2021, Eliminator: Strongest XI for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)

Kolkata sweating over Andre Russell's fitness ahead of the eliminator against Bangalore.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders. (Photo Source: Twitter/IPL)

Kolkata Knight Riders needed just a win against Rajasthan Royals in their last league game to make their place certain for the playoffs and they had a complete performance to wrap up the league stages. They defeated the Royals by a margin of 86 runs, bowling their opposition for just 85 runs. 

The big win helped their net run rate even more than they needed. It made the task for Mumbai Indians in the last game near impossible. Now, KKR faces a knockout challenge against one of the best teams this season, Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Here is the strongest XI for KKR against RCB for the Eliminator: 

1. Openers (Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill)

Venkatesh Iyer
Venkatesh Iyer. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

The opening combination of Iyer and Gill has been quite perfect in the second leg of the IPL 2021. The duo has given some handy starts to the KKR in the UAE leg and helped them solve an issue that had cost them back in India. In the last match, the pair formed a crucial partnership in tough conditions, which set a platform for a brilliant finish.

Iyer made 38 runs in 35 balls, continuing his rich vein of form in the UAE. Gill, on the other hand, scored his second fifty-plus score in a row, eventually ending on 56 runs from 44 balls. His knock was a masterclass in terms of batting on difficult surfaces. Their stand lasted for 65 balls together, yielding 79 runs in the process and the team would expect a similar sort of performance once again. 

2. Middle-order (Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik, and Eoin Morgan)

Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana
Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

After the openers were gone in that game against Rajasthan Royals, the middle order stepped up in a way that team management would have expected. No one really wasted too many deliveries and got in on the act. Rana batted at no. 3, adding to the many positions in which he has batted this season already. His stay lasted for five balls, but he got 12 quick runs. 

Tripathi made a 14-ball 21 and looked impressive, which has been a trait of his batting right through the season. Karthik made 14 runs which were handy while skipper Morgan finally got something under his belt. He hit a six and a four during his 11-ball 13. Together, a complete team performance was shown helping the team get to a pretty handy score of 171 in that game.

3. All-rounders (Sunil Narine and Andre Russell) 

Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine. (Photo Source: Twitter/IPL)

Sunil Narine did end up conceding some runs in the previous match, but considering his form in this second leg, that could be just a blip for a game. He will remain a key player for the KKR team going into this game against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Another player who has proven to be a match-winner against Bangalore in the past awaits a fitness clearance. 

Shakib Al Hasan has done well in his absence, but there have been some positive reports coming in, as far as Russell’s fitness is concerned. If the big West Indian recovers in time, he would be an automatic pick for Morgan. 

4. Bowlers (Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, and Varun Chakravarthy)

Lockie Ferguson
Lockie Ferguson. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Shivam Mavi replaced Prasidh Krishna in the XI after KKR didn’t get a proper replacement in Sandeep Warrier. In his three appearances in the UAE, Mavi has been extremely impressive. In the previous game, he picked up four wickets, his best bowling figures in an IPL match. With Ferguson, he has formed a lethal fast-bowling attack, in terms of sheer pace. The Blackcap ended up picking three scalps in the previous match. 

Both are really quick and can extract something from the Sharjah wicket with their changeups as well as their high pace deliveries. There are some concerns around Chakravarthy’s fitness as well, but as of now, it seems that he might still play. He bowled an excellent spell of 1 for 14 in four overs in the previous match.