Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore will come up against Kings XI Punjab in Match 43 of IPL 2017 today.
RCB have 5 points from 11 matches and sit at the bottom of the standings. They have no further chances of making the playoffs; even if they were to win their remaining three matches, it will only take them to 11 points, and the top four teams already have in excess of 11 points. The batting line-up, of which much was expected after their exploits last season, has clearly misfired; in their last four matches alone, RCB have lost 37 wickets for a total of 441 runs, or a wicket for every 12 runs. Just because they have not played well so far in the tournament does not mean they cannot play well in the remaining three matches. Sport is a confidence thing; the RCB players will want to get back to winning ways so they feel better and also give their loyal fans a reason to cheer.
Kings XI Punjab, who are coming off a four-day break, will be the hungrier for the two points in this match. KXIP are in the bottom half of the table and have 8 points from nine matches. Prior to the break they demolished the Delhi Daredevils, dismissing them for 67 and cruising to a comprehensive 10-wicket win. Ideally, Glenn Maxwell’s side will want to win each of their remaining five matches and qualify for the playoffs on their own – without leaving anything to mathematical calculations or permutations and combinations. KXIP have blown hot and cold; when they’ve won, they’ve done so quite convincingly, but they haven’t managed to win more than two matches in a row, and the time has now come for them to start piling on a series of wins.
The two most-excitable names in the RCB line-up are Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The two players have had a disappointing season. Even if the RCB skipper Kohli hasn’t been able to replicate the form of 2016, he has had fairly decent returns, scoring three half-centuries in seven innings. AB de Villiers meanwhile has scored only one half-century in seven innings, and has been dismissed for single-digit scores in three of his last four innings. If RCB hope to compete, they need the duo of Kohli and de Villiers to get big scores.
For Kings XI Punjab, the overseas batsmen will have to do the bulk of the damage with the bat. Hashim Amla has been brilliant with the bat, with scores of 104 not out, 65 and 16 not out in his last three innings. The inclusion of Martin Guptill has meant KXIP now have two in-form batsmen at the top. The captain Glenn Maxwell has had gone off the boil since a solid start the tournament; with the competition for the playoff places becoming intense, KXIP will be well-served if their captain can get back to his destructive run-scoring ways.
With the ball, RCB will want Yuzvendra Chahal and Samuel Badree to bowl their eight overs without conceding too much, while KXIP will look towards Sandeep Sharma to do damage with the ball upfront and hope Axar Patel can keep things tidy in the middle overs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Vs KingsXIPunjab
Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, 8 pm
Sunrisers Hyderabad Vs Rising Pune Supergiant
Rajiv Gandhi Intl. Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad, 4 pm
Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians
Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi, 8 pm
Gujarat Lions 208 for 7 in 20 overs lost to Delhi Daredevils 214 for 3 in 17.3 overs.