Bangalore: Desperate to get off the mark, the two Indian clubs - Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders - will come face to face in their Champions League T20 encounter here on Thursday.
The Challengers were outplayed by Warriors in the opening encounter, while KKR are on a losing streak - they have lost three games on the trot.
RCB's hopes to register their first win will largely rest on the broad shoulders of Chris Gayle, who can destroy any bowling attack on a given day. And the news that team’s other star player, AB de Villiers, has been ruled out of the cash-rich event due to a fractured finger, will put extra pressure on the Jamaican batsman.
Both the teams are coming into the game after losing their previous encounters.
The absence of de Villiers means youngsters Virat Kohli and Saurabh Tiwary will have to take more responsibility and contribute substantially to the team's total.
Mohammed Kaif is still far from proving himself fit for the slam-bang form of cricket.
But more than their batting, it's the RCB bowling that disappointed most in their last game. They were unable to defend a competitive total of 172.
Their pace attack is led by left-arm seamer Dirk Nannes, while Karnataka pacer Sreenath Aravind supports the Australian bowler.
RCB have another talented fast bowler in Abhimanyu Mithun, but the India discard has not lived up to his billing. The spin department will be shouldered by skipper Daniel Vettori.
Led by Gautam Gambhir, KKR were completely outplayed by the rampaging Redbacks on Tuesday.
First their bowlers allowed the Australian outfit to post a massive target of 188, as the out-of-sorts Brett Lee and Iqbal Abdulla gave away runs at ease. This was followed by their batsmen’s below-par performance, barring Manoj Tiwary's 36-ball 40.
The KKR team management can ring in a few changes in the team's batting order. Their decision to send Shakib Al Hasan to raise the scoring rate in place of the in-form Ryan ten Doeschate was much criticized after Tuesday’s loss.
The hard-hitting Yusuf Pathan too can be sent well before his designated No. 5 position.
The teams will be desperate for a victory as another defeat would severely dent their chances of making it to the semi-finals, since only the top two teams in each group will make the last-four stage.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Daniel Vettori (c), Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Kaif, Mayank Agarwal, Sreenath Aravind, Arun Karthik, Raju Bhatkal, Abhimanyu Mithun, Dirk Nannes, Asad Pathan, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Saurabh Tiwary.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Jacques Kallis (c), Iqbal Abdulla, Shakib Al Hasan, L Balaji, Rajat Bhatia, Manvinder Bisla, Gautam Gambhir, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan, Yusuf Pathan, Shami Ahmed, Ryan ten Doeschate, Manoj Tiwary, Jaidev Unadkat.