While Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Mumbai Indians (MI) is the biggest rivalry in the IPL—the IPL’s version of ElClásico—there is always simmering heat among the fans when Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
There is a history between these two teams. From former KKR opener Brendon McCullum smashing 158 against RCB in the first-ever match in the IPL back in 2008 to Chris Gayle blowing away KKR, his former team, when donning the RCB jersey for the first time in 2012.
Tension reached its zenith when Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir, the then India teammates, both from Delhi and both short-tempered, clashed during an IPL 2015 game with verbal assaults and came within punching distance of each other.
KKR consigned RCB to IPL history’s lowest total of 49 runs in 2017 at the Eden Gardens. Two years later, Kohli returned to slam a century at Eden after RCB had been assaulted by Andre Russell earlier that season. RCB had a sort of mini-revenge when they bowled KKR out for 84 in the IPL 2020 in Abu Dhabi, courtesy of Siraj’s 3/8. KKR knocked RCB out of the IPL 2021 in the qualifier game.
KKR vs RCB head-to-head in IPL: KKR 18 Wins, RCB 14 Wins
The rivalry will resume in IPL 2024. Virat Kohli is back to his best with the bat, and Gautam Gambhir has returned to KKR in the form of a mentor. Heading into the tournament, it can be strongly asserted that KKR has a stronger team than RCB and could defeat Faf du Plessis’ side this season, whether they meet only once or twice.
2 reasons why KKR might have an upper hand over RCB in IPL 2024:
RCB’s bowling looks too weak—a recipe for disaster this season.
RCB has gone from Harshal Patel, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Josh Hazlewood to Alzarri Joseph, Lockie Ferguson, Tom Curran, Yash Dayal, Reece Topley, Vyshak Vijaykumar, and Karn Sharma, with Mohammed Siraj spearheading their attack. (Topley and Ferguson, though world-class operators, remain injury-prone.)
A bowling attack that couldn’t defend 212 against Lucknow at Chinnaswamy has gotten even weaker. Good luck, RCB fans. It would be a miracle for RCB, with this bowling attack, to even make it to the playoffs.
KKR have got major firepower this season in both departments.
With Shreyas Iyer returning after missing the last IPL season due to a back injury and the purchase of Mitchell Starc, KKR’s line-up has significantly been boosted. So much so that now not only are they looking strong for a playoff finish, but they are even title contenders.
Their spin trio of Narine, Suyash, and Chakravarthy, along with the off-spin of Nitish Rana, to go with the attacking batting of Gurbaz, Roy, Iyer, Venkatesh, and Rana, should get the job done in home games. For away games, KKR would be depending on Starc to blow away opposition, something that the Aussie speedster specializes in. Vaibhav Arora, Chetan Sakariya, and Harshit Rana have all had impressive IPL seasons in recent years.
If Andre Russell remains fit throughout the season, KKR will go from a good team to a powerhouse, one that will intimidate the opposition, be it RCB, CSK, or MI.