Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab both started off promisingly, but RCB fell apart in their last two matches while KXIP continued to romp their opponents. Now RCB and KXIP play each other at Dubai International Cricket Stadium before flying to India for rest of the tournament.
Chris Gayle’s absence may not have hurt RCB that much as long as they were winning, but despair show by batsmen in last two games brings Gayle’s absence back to equation. He still remains to be a doubtful starter and it now rests upon AB de Villiers to put the missing zing back in RCB batting.
The orange cap holder Glenn Maxwell is what every team wishes to have in their line-up, but it is KXIP who are lucky to have Maxwell and that too in his prime form. His rare failure so far came against Kolkata Knight Riders in the previous game, but you cannot write him off.
On paper RCB’s batting may not look weaker with Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers forming the part, but batting has now become vulnerable mainly after how things unfolded against Rajasthan Royals.
Kings XI Punjab seems to be doing no wrong and both the departments have won them games. Cheteshwar Pujara needs to be playing a sheet anchor role as it suits him and the team best. With couple of smashers around Pujara should look to keep one end stitched.
Both RCB and KXIP have young Indian spinners in their ranks. RCB’s Yuzvendra Chahal has deceived batsmen every time he comes to bowl, he has maintained an economy of under six and has kept picking wickets in his each outing. Akshar Patel is the highest wicket taker for KXIP this season so far with six wickets and to go with it has an economy of 5.75. Both these rookie players are frontline spinners for their respective teams.
RCB: Virat Kohli (c), Yuvraj Singh, Parthiv Patel, Vijay Zol, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, An Ahmed, Harshal Patel , Shadab Jakati, Sandeep Warrier, Tanmay Mishra, Yogesh Takawale, Sachin Rana, Yuzvendra Chahal, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ravi Rampaul, Albie Morkel, Mitchell Starc.
KXIP: George Bailey(c), Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Manan Vohra, Murali Kartik, Parvinder Awana, L Balaji, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, Shivam Sharma, Rishi Dhawan, Mandeep Singh, Akhshar Patel, Karanveer Singh, Gurkeerat Mann, Wriddhiman Saha, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Thisara Perera, Beuran Hendricks.