Kings XI Punjab travel to Bangalore to take on a Royal Challengers side reeling from four successive defeats – the rained-out game notwithstanding. Punjab, meanwhile, demolished Delhi Daredevils by 10 wickets last time around after restricting them to just 67.
The Glenn Maxwell-led side still have a great shot at making the playoffs and will look to boost their top four chances by inflicting further misery on Virat Kohli’s side at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
With their foreign recruits – Shaun Marsh, Martin Guptill, Glenn Maxwell and Hashim Amla – all clicking, Kings XI look like a side capable of beating any team on their day,
Take a look at how they could line-up today against RCB.
Guptill was brought into the side only for the last couple of matches but has looked completely at ease. The Kiwi struck a blistering 50 off just 27 deliveries in the rout of Delhi and will look to cash in against a team possessing a weak bowling attack on a small ground. If Guptill gets going, Punjab could well cross the 200 run mark with ease.
Amla offers the perfect foil for Guptill at the top of the order. The South African will be willing to play second fiddle to his more explosive opening partner as he displayed in the previous match.
Amla, however, is more than capable of going big and has already amassed a century in this edition of the IPL. If Guptill falls early, it will be up to the South African to steady the ship and guide KXIP to a competitive total.
One of Punjab’s best players across seasons, Marsh has looked in fine touch in this edition as well. The southpaw has already scored 140 runs in just 3 innings this time around and will look to continue his form against a weak RCB bowling attack.
Vohra scored an impressive 95 against Sunrisers but struggled to come up with scores of note in the rest of his innings. He was pushed down the order to accommodate Guptill at the top and could slot in at No. 4 to deal with RCB’s spinners.
The skipper of Punjab for this season has been at his destructive best. Maxwell has managed 193 runs in 8 innings at a more-than-impressive strike rate of 178. The Aussie has also contributed with the ball when needed, picking 3 wickets in his last two games.
RCB are known to struggle with the ball during the death and will need to get Maxwell early if they are to restrict Punjab to under 220.
Saha has hardly contributed with the bat this tournament but that is down to the fact that he comes in during the death overs and needs to go big from ball one. He has been decent behind the stumps, picking up 7 dismissals in 9 matches thus far.
Axar Patel has defined the role of an all-rounder in this tournament. He contributed with the bat during the early stages, and more recently started displaying his prowess with the ball. Axar has picked up 10 wickets in 9 matches, and will play a huge role in restricting RCB’s power-packed batting line-up containing the likes of AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav and Virat Kohli.
Mohit Sharma has struggled to pick up wickets in IPL 2017 but is one of the most skilful Indian bowlers. Capable of some extremely lethal yorkers and slower balls, he will be vital for Punjab at the death.
Aaron was simply sensational against Delhi, returning figures of 2-0-3-2. He has been amongst the wickets this season, scalping 7 in just 4 outings. Blessed with immense pace, Aaron can trouble even the best out there if he gets his line and length right. However, if the batsmen take a liking to him, his pace can leak runs.
The wrecker-in-chief for Punjab in their game against DD, Sandeep Sharma is probably the most under-rated bowler in the IPL. He has been one of their best bowlers across all the editions of the IPL and has come good this time around as well, picking up 11 wickets so far. While he has been on the expensive side, going for over 8 an over, he is a genuine wicket taker and will play a huge role in keeping Kohli and Gayle in check at the top.
Natarajan might be persisted with despite not featuring prominently on the wicket-takers’ list. He has picked up just 1 wicket in 4 matches, something least expected from a bowler of his calibre. He has, however, been economical in his last three matches, going for just 42 runs in his six overs.