Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 27 April 2014 - 07:03pm IST
Preview: Match 18 – KXIP v RCB
Can Virat and co. upset unstoppable Kings XI?
Kings XI Punjab, who have steamrolled all the teams they have faced, and Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have lost their way after wins in their opening two matches, go head to head in Match 18 of Pepsi IPL 2014.
KXIP are the only unbeaten team in the competition, registering convincing wins in each of their four matches. Victory margins of six wickets (v CSK), seven wickets (v RR), 72 runs (v SRH) and 23 runs (v KKR) illustrate how good they have been. The batting didn’t quite fire as expected in their most recent outing, but their bowlers stepped up just when needed and polished off the KKR line-up in a clinical manner.
Royal Challengers Bangalore started their Pepsi IPL 2014 campaign with convincing wins over Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians. However, they lost the plot in the dying stages of the match against the Kolkata Knight Riders, after which the wheels came off in spectacular fashion in their most recent game against the Rajasthan Royals. After the disastrous outing against RR, RCB skipper Virat Kohli told the media that his team just did not turn up for the match and needed to flush this game out of their memory pretty quickly. Will they be able to do that and match the might of KXIP, is the big question.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 8 pm IST
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Glenn Maxwell, who has set the tournament alight with his unorthodox stroke-play, will continue to be the mainstay in KXIP’s scheme of things. Though the Australian made his lowest score (15) in the previous match, he still successfully pulled off a reverse-sweep against the dangerous Sunil Narine. KXIP will also be relieved that Virender Sehwag got back among the runs – much to the delight of his fans; if he gets going, the Nawab of Najafgarh can toy with bowling attacks singlehandedly.
Among the others, David Miller and Mitchell Johnson will play support acts with bat and ball respectively.
With Yuvraj Singh a pale shadow of the destructive batsman he was and Chris Gayle’s availability far from certain, RCB will look for runs from skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The pair – ranked first and second respectively in the ICC ODI Batting Rankings – will have to shoulder the burden of batting the majority of overs and ensure they post enough runs on the board.
Notes from previous match
Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders: Five KXIP batsmen got off to starts, but none converted those into big scores. The highest score by a KXIP batsman in this particular match was Virender Sehwag’s 37. KXIP – more than any other team – know the importance of set batsmen carrying on to make big scores. Among the positives, KXIP will have made note of how they strangled the opposition. The first massive over of the KKR run-chase – which saw 10 or more runs being added to the scoreboard – was the 16th of the innings. KXIP will have realised the virtues of building up pressure and how it generally results in batsmen succumbing to it.
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals: How many notes can the support staff make if the team folds up for a dismal 70? The positives RCB can take from their previous outing is of the bowlers putting up a brave show – despite not having too many runs to defend – by picking up four wickets and sending a few jitters in the RR dressing room.
Kings XI Punjab have the best record among all the teams who have played against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. KXIP have won 7 of the 12 matches against the team from the south to give them a success rate of 58.33 percent. RCB haven’t defeated KXIP since 20 April 2012 – after which they have ended up on the wrong side of the result thrice.
9 – The number of times in 12 matches between KXIP and RCB the game has been decided in favour of the team chasing.
David Miller scored his only century in T20 cricket against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Pepsi IPL 2013.
The action will shift to Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai for Kings XI Punjab who will square off against the Mumbai Indians on May 3. Royal Challengers Bangalore, meanwhile, head back to their home ground – M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru – to host Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 4.