Match 31 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will feature Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors India.
Though both teams have played seven matches so far, their fortunes are as different as chalk and cheese. RCB have won five of their seven fixtures, while PWI have won two and lost five. A victory in this match will propel RCB to the top of the table, while a victory for PWI will mean a move up to seventh place.
RCB definitely start favourites in this contest, given they are on a roll having won their last two matches. They held their nerve to defeat the Delhi Daredevils in the Super Over and then thoroughly outclassed the Rajasthan Royals in their most recent fixture. Pune Warriors India meanwhile have worries on both the batting and bowling fronts. In their most recent match against Kings XI Punjab, the bowlers could not defend 186. In the match before that, a batting collapse meant PWI failed to chase down 120.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 4 p.m
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Just how RCB have dominated the tournament can be established from the fact that their skipper Virat Kohli holds the Orange Cap and R Vinay Kumar tops the list of leading wicket-takers so far. The destructive Chris Gayle too finds a place among the top three run-getters in the season so far, while RP Singh is among the top ten wicket-takers this season. Among the best batsmen in the world currently, AB de Villiers is capable of destroying even the best bowling attacks. The South African has not set the stage on fire just yet – expect him to come to the party if and when he gets an opportunity.
Not only has Pune Warriors India’s Aaron Finch scored three half-centuries, he has been aggressive at the top of the order and that has ensured the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Steve Smith have a platform to launch from. Finch – the only PWI to break the 50-run mark this season – will need to carry that form, while Yuvraj Singh has looked in good touch in each of his three most recent outings. On the bowling front, Bhuvneshwar Kumar seems to be developing the knack of picking up wickets early on, while Rahul Sharma has strangled the opposition with his fastish leg-breaks.
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors India have so far met on three occasions and the Bangalore franchise has emerged victors in all three matches.
In the first meeting in 2011, RCB won their home fixture by 26 runs. In the meeting between the two teams at Bengaluru in 2012, RCB held their nerve to beat PWI by six wickets. In their away fixture in 2012, RCB defeated the hosts by 35 runs.
RCB are undefeated in five matches at home this season.
Aaron Finch has an impressive record as captain; in nine matches as captain in the Twenty20 format, he averages 66 and in five limited overs matches as captain, he averages 80.00. What Next
Royal Challengers Bangalore head to Mumbai to take on the Mumbai Indians on April 27. And Pune Warriors India will head to Raipur where they take on the Delhi Daredevils in their adopted home venue Chattisgarh International Cricket Stadium on April 28.