Having found some light at the end of the tunnel, Royal Challengers Bangalore will be keen to expose the chinks in Kings XI Punjab’s armoury during their must-win Indian Premier League encounter in Indore on Monday.
RCB got some breathing space after their five-wicket victory against Delhi Daredevils while Kings XI Punjab, after a brilliant run in the initial stages, are struggling with two back-to-back defeats.
Despite losses to Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders, KXIP are in the top half of the league with 12 points while RCB are still languishing at the second-last place.
However in IPL, strange things have happened at the business end of the tournament and RCB, under Virat Kohli, are likely to put a lot of pressure on the slipping KXIP.
While Kohli and AB de Villiers anchored an easy chase against Daredevils with stylish half-centuries, KXIP bowlers were under the pump, being taken to cleaners by Sunil Narine and Dinesh Karthik as KKR scored a mammoth 245 in the last game.
Both the teams are overtly dependant on their batting with Kohli and De Villiers holding forte for RCB while KXIP look up to KL Rahul and Chris Gayle for inspirational performances. However, it is the bowling which has let both RCB and KXIP down on many occasions.
For KXIP, the standout bowler has been Andrew Tye with 20 wickets at an economy rate of 8 per over, while teenage mystery spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman has been exceptional with 14 wickets at a miserly rate of 6.99 per over.
The problem area has been skipper Ravichandran Ashwin’s inability to get breakthroughs with only six scalps from 11 games at 8.13 runs per over. Axar Patel, the only player retained by the franchise, has fared even worse. He has got chance in only five of the matches with only three wickets in his kitty at an economy rate of 8.73.
In case of RCB, Kohli’s propensity to tinker with bowling combinations after almost every game has had an impact on the performance. Only India internationals Yuzvendra Chahal (10 wickets from 11 games at an economy rate of 7.57) and Umesh Yadav (14 wickets from 11 games at an economy rate of 8.23) have played all the games.
Save Chahal, the spinners have been a big flop. Washington Sundar’s inexperience (economy rate of 9.60 with 4 wickets from 7 games) and Pawan Negi’s profligacy (economy rate of 12.25 in 2 games) have RCB’s chances.
Kings XI Punjab won: 12
Royal Challengers Bangalore won: 9
When these two teams met earlier this season, Royal Challengers got the better of Kings XI, winning by four wickets in Bengaluru.
Stats and trivia
- Kings XI Punjab have had 12 partnerships of 50 or more this season; KL Rahul has been involved in 10 of them.
- Andrew Tye has had a lot of success in the death overs; he has picked up 12 wickets while bowling in the last five overs, and has an economy rate of 8.05 in that period.
- A total of 60 sixes and 88 fours have been hit in the three IPL 2018 matches played in Indore. Overall, 63.8% of the runs scored in the three matches have been through boundaries.
- Both KL Rahul and Virat Kohli average above 50 in the current season.
“I would say we have got ourselves into an interesting situation. We still have enough games to try and get through to the playoffs.”— KXIP captain R Ashwin
“Bowling first is better in this stage because it’s easier for batsmen to take responsibility. You can almost set up the game how you like. That’s what works for our boys.”— RCB captain Virat Kohli
Kings XI Punjab: R Ashwin (c), Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, David Miller, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Axar Patel, Akshdeep Nath, Mayank Agarwal, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Dagar.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Kulwant Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Manan Vohra, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Corey Anderson, Parthiv Patel, Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee.
With inputs from PTI and IPLT20.com.