IPL 2018: Royal Challengers Bengaluru are hoping to get their campaign back on track after an opening game defeat, as they lock horns with Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here tomorrow. RCB finished second best in a cliffhanger to Kolkata Knight Riders after Sunil Narine snatched victory with a 17-ball fifty. RCB will be expecting some fireworks from Brendon McCullum and AB de Villiers, who blasted a 27-ball 43 and a 23-ball 44, respectively, in the first game.
McCullum’s confidence will be high as he has completed 9,000 T20 runs in the last match.
Skipper Virat Kohli, surprisingly, played second fiddle by scoring 31 off 33 balls, and he would like to have a better outing against KXIP. Other top-notch batsmen like Quinton de Kock, Sarfaraz Khan and Chris Woakes, who did not get many runs under their belts, would be keen to contribute. Assisted by India’s 2011 World Cup winning duo of Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra as batting and bowling coaches, Kohli could think of letting Corey Anderson have a go at the bowling, given the small size of Chinnaswamy stadium. In the bowling department, Umesh Yadav and Woakes would like to continue their form as they shared five wickets between them. Much was expected from the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar but they did not weave any magic, claiming just one wicket for 77 runs in 56 balls.
The in-form New Zealand quickie Tim Southee might get a chance to swing his arms, considering his reputation as one of the best new-ball bowlers in international cricket. Punjab are coming into the match with their tails up, having started the season on a resounding note, beating Delhi Daredevils by six wickets. Local player KL Rahul, who scripted victory with the fastest-ever fifty in IPL, will be seeking to repeat his show, and he is playing at home. Rahul had smashed six boundaries and four sixes in his 16-ball-51. Karun Nair, who scored a 33-ball fifty, also would be keen to continue the good work.
Yuvraj Singh, who looked a pale shadow of his old self in the last match where he got 12 off 22 balls, would be keen to regain his touch. David Miller and Marcus Stoinis would also like to continue steering the team to victory in death overs, as they did in the last match by scoring an unbeaten 24 and 23, respectively. Chris Gayle could open the innings as he knows the conditions well here, the venue where he smashed an incredible 175 in the 2013 edition. Aaron Finch, who was unavailable for the last match, also may get a chance. Punjab’s bowlers did a fine job by restricting Delhi with 17-year-old spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman making his IPL debut with a bang, picking up two wickets along with Mohit Sharma.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock, Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Sarfraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kulwant Khejroliya.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), AJ Tye, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb ur Rahman.