Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 16 April 2012 - 10:43pm IST
Preview: Match 21 – RCB v PWI
Can the upbeat PWI keep RCB quiet at home?
Royal Challengers Bangalore, one of IPL’s most consistent teams, clash with Pune Warriors India, who’ve found their feet early this season.
RCB started their IPL 2012 campaign with a bang when they beat Delhi Daredevils by a fair margin. Since then, though, their fortunes have nose-dived; they lost a cliffhanger against hosts Chennai Super Kings and received a 59-run thrashing at the hands of the Rajasthan Royals a couple of days ago.
Pune Warriors India find themselves placed in the top half of the table with three victories from four matches. Sourav Ganguly’s boys, who crushed MS Dhoni’s CSK two days ago, will look to build on the momentum.
Tuesday, April 17, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
It’s not often that the formidable RCB top order fails altogether. In the previous match against the Rajasthan Royals, the celebrated trio of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers only managed 36 runs between them. With Tillakaratne Dilshan warming the benches, the pressure will be on Gayle and de Villiers to perform and keep their place in the side.
Daniel Vettori will also have to come up with an answer to the problems of the fifth bowler’s quota. RCB have tried out Harshal Patel, S Aravind and Raajoo Bhatkal previously, but none has done enough to merit a second game. Look out for a change in the bowling attack too.
Pune Warriors India seem to have finally discovered their best batting order. With Sourav Ganguly playing the sheet anchor at No. 3, the business of opening the innings is best left to two of their most explosive batsmen, Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa.
Marlon Samuels and Steve Smith have shown glimpses of what they are capable of and Pune Warriors India fans will hope they can keep the good work going through the tournament.
Keep an eye on the umpires too. Marlon Samuels’ bowling action was reported as suspect in the previous match. If he’s reported once more, he’ll be suspended from the rest of the tournament.
The only previous time Royal Challengers Bangalore have met Pune Warriors India, the former won by 26 runs. After posting a challenging 181 for five on a flat deck at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, RCB’s bowlers restricted their opponents to 155 for five.
• Pune Warriors India have the lowest boundary percentage of the nine teams in this IPL; only 47.35% of their runs have come through boundaries.
• RCB’s Chris Gayle needs seven more sixes to become the leading six-hitter in the IPL. Adam Gilchrist currently sits on top of the list with 83 hits over the fence (from 64 matches), while Gayle has hit 77 in 31 matches.
After two consecutive home games, Royal Challengers Bangalore will step out of the familiar surroundings of M Chinnaswamy Stadium and travel north to Mohali to face Kings XI Punjab on April 20. Pune Warriors India, meanwhile, will fly over to Chennai to take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings on April 19.