With an aim to stay relevant till the business end, a desperate Kings XI Punjab will be aiming a comprehensive victory against a down and out Royal Challengers Bangalore in an Indian Premier League, here tomorrow. With 8 points from 9 games, KXIP are placed fifth while RCB after 8 defeats from 11 games are at the bottom of the heap. For Kings XI Punjab, a win will keep them in contention with another four matches after tomorrow. The RCB under Virat Kohli will however be only playing for pride with an aim to finish on a winning note in their remaining matches. With nothing save pride at stake, Kohli might be inclined to give some of the youngsters a go removing the non-performers.
After the high of last international season, the IPL has been a kind of a setback for skipper Kohli with his team letting him down pretty badly. Kohli himself has been like a lone-ranger standing amidst a bunch of non-performers. KXIP won in a canter crushing Delhi Daredevils by 10 wickets in their previous game. With RCB’s morale at its lowest, this is the best chance for KXIP to register another facile win in order to remain in contention.
For the Glenn Maxwell-led side, Hashim Amla with 315 runs including a century has been in good form. Martin Guptill also looked in ominous touch during his 27-ball half-century. KXIP fans could be hoping a big knock from Maxwell, who has been a disappointment this year, just getting 193 runs in nine matches, with unbeaten 44 as his highest.
While KXIP batting needs to fire in unison, they will be hoping that pacers Sandeep Sharma and Varun Aaron do a repeat act of their performance against the Daredevils. They would also pin hopes on left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who has taken 10 wickets from nine matches. For RCB, the problem has been failure of their much vaunted batting line-up which comprise Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB De Villiers and Kedar Jadhav. There has been stray performances but nothing collective.
The fringe India players like Mandeep Singh, Stuart Binny has been big disappointments for the popular franchise. The only silver lining for RCB has been the performance of their two leg-spinners spinners — Samuel Badree (9 wickets) and Yuzvendra Chahal (11 wickets). However their pacers have been far from impressive with Srinath Arvind (4), Adam Milne (3) and Aniket Choudhary (2) going for a lot of runs.
Kings XI Punjab: Glenn Maxwell (captain), David Miller, Manan Vohra, Hashim Amla, Shaun Marsh, Darren Sammy, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Nikhil Naik, Ishant Sharma, Armaan Jaffer, Martin Guptill, Eoin Morgan, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Arman Jaffer, Anureet Singh, Mohit Sharma, KC Cariappa, Pradeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh, T Natrajan, Matt Henry, Varun Aaron, Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Gurkeerat Mann, Rahul Tewatia.
RCB: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Vishnu Vinod, Sreenath Arvind, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tymal Mills, Aniket Chaudhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake.