Royal Challengers Bangalore have had a dreadful Indian Premier League season with six defeats in six matches played. The chances of them making the playoffs are extremely thin so for them the focus would be on saving face. No team has gone winless in seven matches in IPL history with Delhi Daredevils, in 2013, also holding the record of six straight defeats. RCB would consider it an opportunity to avoid the miserably record when they face an inconsistent Kings XI Punjab side at the IS Bindra Stadium.
Nothing has gone right for RCB this season and slumped to their sixth straight loss against Delhi Capitals on Sunday.
Kohli, who was recently named the Leading Cricketer of the year for the third successive time by Wisden Almanack, will hope things turn around for his team — which has seen impressive individual performances but have failed to click collectively.
RCB inconsistency issues
For Bangalore, the issue has been their inconsistency. If the batting works, the bowling doesn’t and if the bowling does a decent job, the batting fails to get things right. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, RCB bowlers were smacked around the park to allow David Warner and Jonny Bairstow to post a mammoth 232 run total (RCB lost by 118 runs).
Against Kolkata Knight Riders, AB de Villiers and Kohli got firing with 63 runs and 84 respectively, but the bowlers failed to defend 205 with KKR riding on Andre Russell’s explosive knock of 13-ball 48 to romp home.
Among the bowlers, Yuzvendra Chahal has been their top performer with nine wickets but rest of the bowling line-up has gone for far too many runs.
RCB’s batting too has looked equally inconsistent. In their first match against Chennai Super Kings, RCB were bowled out for 70 runs in 17.1 overs after their top-order crumbled against Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir.
In their latest outing against Delhi, barring Kohli’s 33-ball 41 and Moeen Ali’s 18-ball 32 cameo, RCB’s ordinary batting display could only muster 149/8, a target which was easily achieved by DC.
KXIP strong at home
Kings XI Punjab haven’t been all guns blazing either. They have four wins out of seven matches but have looked a much better unit when playing at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.
In their most recent outing, KXIP failed to defend 197 runs against Mumbai Indians despite being in a strong position. MI were in trouble, needed over a 100 runs from 48 balls and yet were able to come back to win – thanks to Kieron Pollard’s thumping hits in 31-ball 83 run knock.
Despite the loss, KXIP’s batting has looked convincing with KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. However, KXIP would be worried over the fitness of the West Indian who twitched his back against Mumbai. R Ashwin provided an update on his injury after the MI match but whether he will take the field against RCB remains to be seen..
Kings XI also have the likes of David Miller and Mandeep Singh and the side will look forward to some big knocks from them as well.
In the bowling department, the pace-spin duo of Mohammad Shami and Ashwin has been KXIP’s best bowlers and they would look to put another good show. Among others, Sam Curran, Hardus Viljoen, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Andrew Tye would also look to provide depth to the Kings XI bowling.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (C), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Moeen
Ali, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Devdutt Padikkal, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann,
Heinrich Klaasen, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Akshdeep Nath, Prayas Barman, Kulwant Khejroliya and Tim Southee.
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul (WK), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Karun Nair, Moises Henriques, Varun Chakravarthi, Harpreet Brar, Simran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Hardus Viljoen, Ankit Rajpoot, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Agnivesh Ayachi.