Royal Challengers Bangalore are a very confused outfit. Captain Virat Kohli said that this was his most balanced side he had had in 11 years at RCB. But that is not really true.
As was apparent in the game against KKR, RCB have a good top-4, but after that, their batting starts looking very ordinary. The middle order which consists of young untested players such as Mandeep Singh and Sarfraz Khan is a real headache for Kohli.
They just don’t seem to be good enough. There was a lot of talk about Sarfraz Khan in particular, but he seems to be going in the way of Unmukt Chand – good under-19 cricketer, but just not good enough at the senior level.
RCB should have the home advantage against Kings XI Punjab, but we don’t really know if that’s really an advantage for them – they won just one game at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in the whole of last season. No other team has such a poor record at home. The Bangalore crowd go to the stadium to cheer for their team only to be dejected every time.
Kings XI Punjab are led very smartly by Ashwin and their coach Virender Sehwag. This is a team that really knows their stuff. Everything Ashwin has done so far has worked – using two spin bowlers at the start of the innings and going really aggressive with the bat, led by Bangalore’s own KL Rahul.
The youngsters are doing fine at Kings XI, but they have a problem in veteran Yuvraj Singh, who seems to have lost his magic touch with the bat. Yuvraj struggled to get going in the last game, getting just 12 from 22 balls. His performance is a real worry.
Also, they would want their slog overs specialist Andrew Tye to perform better. Tye had a good last season at the IPL, but in the last game, he was hit for 38 runs off 4 overs and never looked threatening.
Kings XI have very good spin bowlers, but their pace attack is a huge problem – it’s just not good enough – none of the bowlers are anything more than medium pace.
Let’s hope for an exciting match later tonight. There are no rains forecasted, so it’s going to be a fun high scoring game.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Parthiv Patel (wk), 3 Virat Kohli (capt.), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Sarfraz Khan, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Kings XI Punjab: 1 KL Rahul (wk), 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Karun Nair, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Manoj Tiwary, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin (capt.), 9 Andrew Tye, 10 Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 11 Mohit Sharma