After a dramatic win over Chennai Super Kings last week, Royal Challengers Bangalore will host King XI Punjab as they eye a hat-trick of wins in the tournament. To survive, the Virat Kohli-led side has to win all the matches, and with considerably large margins.
Kings XI Punjab have lost 3 of their previous five games and would hope to get back into the winning ways against RCB. The side would be entering the contest after a five-wicket defeat against Delhi Capitals.
Bangalore pacer struggles
Umesh Yadav almost cost RCB the match against Chennai, when he was hammered for a boundary and three sixes in the final over by MS Dhoni. CSK needed 26 to win and the seamer gave away 24 in the first five deliveries. It took a slower ball, a bit of luck, and a brilliant direct throw at the stumps, for RCB to win the match.
This has been Bangalore’s struggle throughout the season – the pace attack. The seamer trio of Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Siraj have not been able to curtail run flow and have not been among wickets either. The addition of Dale Steyn, though, has given a much-needed boost to the side and facing the strong batting line-up of KXIP, he could be the key player. The Proteas seamer dismissed Shane Watson and Suresh Raina in the first over itself, which helped RCB in shifting the momentum back to their side in the 162-run chase.
Punjab middle-order woes
The biggest problem for Punjab this season has been the batting line-up has been too dependent on the opening batsmen KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. The two have been among the run scorers this season so far, and if they are unable to click, the onus comes down on the middle-order which has not worked this season.
While Sarfaraz Khan and Mayank Agarwal started brilliantly this season, they have not been their best in the past few games. Sam Curran and Mandeep Singh too have struggled and Punjab may look to make a few changes in the middle-order.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (C), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Moeen Ali, Shimron Hetmyer, Dale Steyn, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Devdutt Padikkal, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Heinrich Klaasen, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Akshdeep Nath, Prayas Ray Barman, Kulwant Khejroliya, Tim Southee.
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul, 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.