All-time meetings: Royal Challengers Bangalore W8, Kings XI Punjab W12
THE TEAM NEWS
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Coach: Daniel Vettori
Captain: Virat Kohli
RCB lost a close one against Kolkata last round and although they posted an impressive 7/176, a poor bowling performance allowed KKR to chase the target with seven balls to spare so they will be desperate to bounce back.
Teen off-spinner Washington Sundar had a tough initiation to the IPL as the young spinner conceded 48 runs from his four overs and may struggle to keep his spot for the upcoming match with Moeen Ali waiting in the wings.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s batting order have arguably the most talented top order in the league with McCullum, De Kock, Kohli and De Villiers and RCB will be hoping at least one or more of these international superstars can carry the bat and help set an even larger total.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
Coach: Brad Hodge
Captain: Ravichandran Ashwin
Kings XI Punjab chased down Delhi Daredevils target of 166 in emphatic fashion as KL Rahul somewhat surprisingly scored the fastest ever IPL fifty from just 14 balls setting a very solid platform for the rest of the order.
Ravichandran Ashwin continues to prove he is one of the greatest spinners in the modern era and although he only captured the one wicket, his economy rate of just 5.75 made it difficult for Delhi to accelerate their innings.
Brad Hodge certainly has some extra batting options up his sleeve with Aaron Finch due to return after his wedding, whilst Chris Gayle is also an option for Hodge if he elects for even more fire power. From a bowling perspective, Brad Hodge will be keen to back his group for at least another match however he does have impressive young Australian left-arm seamer Ben Dwarshuis sitting on the sidelines.
This is an extremely tough one to call. Can KL Rahul kick-start the Kings XI yet again and will Aaron Finch be able to have an impact for the Kings XI? RCB will be somewhat content with their own batting order but need to address their bowling issues after a tight finish against KKR. With both teams possessing immense fire power in the batting department, one suspects this will come down to which bowlers can hold their nerve. With AJ Tye and Ravi Ashwin at the disposal of Brad Hodge, those T20 specialists may give the Kings XI an edge but leave this one alone and sit back and enjoy.