Bangalore: Beaten by the Warriors in the opening match, Royal Challengers Bangalore will aim for redemption when they take on an equally desperate Kolkata Knight Riders in a do-or-die group league encounter of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament on Thursday.
Despite the narrow defeat against the Warriors in the opener, the Vijay Mallya-owned RCB will be the favourites against Shahrukh Khan's Knight Riders, who have lost three games on the trot, including one in the qualifying leg.
The teams will be desperate for a victory as another defeat would severely dent their chances of a semi-final berth with only top-two teams in each group making it to the last-four stage.
The talent in RCB's ranks can hardly be questioned but the results are yet to be seen. Their batsmen were diligent against Warriors, posting a challenging total, but it was their bowlers who failed to stem the run flow, and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Another problem for RCB has come in the form of a finger injury to South African international AB de Villiers, who has been ruled out of the tournament. De Villiers fractured a finger on his left hand during a RCB training session at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Bangalore will now rely even more heavily on the marauding Chris Gayle, who can single-handedly take the game away on his day, as he did against KKR at the Eden Gardens during the last edition of the Indian Premier League.
The hard-hitting Jamaican was off to a rollicking start against the Warriors, smashing 23 off 14 balls, adorned with two hits to the fence and two over it but could not sustain the tempo.
Apart from Gayle, RCB has the firepower of Virat Kohli and Saurabh Tiwary.
Leading RCB's pace attack will be left-arm bowler Dirk Nannes and Karnataka seamer Sreenath Aravind.
RCB has another talented fast bowler in Abhimanyu Mithun, but the India-discard has not lived up to his billing.
The spin department will be led by skipper Daniel Vettori.
KKR, captained by Gautam Gambhir, lacked the wherewithal against the rampaging South Australian Redbacks on Tuesday night.
Barring Manoj Tiwary's 31-ball 40, their batsmen failed to post a worthy score while the bowling looked out of sorts with Brett Lee and Iqbal Abdulla giving away runs at ease.
Gambhir, the most expensive player, sold for a whopping USD 2.4 million, too would be eager to get back into the grind after making a late start to the tournament.
The left hander, who is playing in the Champions League after recovering from blurred vision, hasn't made a great start to the tournament, scoring a mere nine runs against Redbacks after failing to open his account against Somerset.
Smarting from three defeats in a row, KKR need to work on their bowling department and get back to winning ways.