The seventh edition of the world's biggest Twenty20 league got off to a cracking start with a few surprises and some huge scoring in Week 1 of the Indian Premier League.
Moving into the second week, last year's winners, Mumbai Indians, have some work to do after losing both of their matches so far while Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to continue their excellent start.
Kings XI Punjab have scored big in their opening encounters and will attempt to take the top spot with continued batting success.
Let's take a look at the coming week's best matchups in the United Arab Emirates.
|April 23||3:30 p.m./6:30 p.m.||Rajasthan Royals vs. Chennai Super Kings||Dubai|
|April 24||3:30 p.m./6:30 p.m.||Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Kolkata Knight Riders||Sharjah|
|April 25||11:30 a.m./2:30 p.m.||Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Delhi Daredevils||Dubai|
|April 25||3:30 p.m./6:30 p.m.||Chennai Super Kings vs. Mumbai Indians||Dubai|
|April 26||11:30 a.m./2:30 p.m.||Rajasthan Royals vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore||Abu Dhabi|
|April 26||3:30 p.m./6:30 p.m.||Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Kings XI Punjab||Abu Dhabi|
|April 27||11:30 a.m./2:30 p.m.||Delhi Daredevils vs. Mumbai Indians||Sharjah|
|April 27||3:30 p.m./6:30 p.m.||Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Chennai Super Kings||Sharjah|
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs. Kolkata Knight Riders
Thursday will see the contest between one of the tournament's form teams, Bangalore, and Kolkata Knight Riders, who have won once so far against Mumbai but lost by four wickets to Delhi Daredevils.
Will Kolkata Knight Riders beat Royal Challengers Bangalore?
RCB's key batsmen in skipper Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh were on fine form in their opening win over Delhi Daredevils as the pair scored 49 and 52, respectively, to help their side to the 146-run target with 20 balls to spare, per IPLT20.com.
They followed this victory with a seven-wicket win over Mumbai that saw Yuzvendra Chahal and Mitchell Starc star with the ball, both going at less than six an over and restricting their opposition to only 115, per ESPNcricinfo.
Meanwhile, Kolkata won on opening day by 41 runs as Jacques Kallis scored a 46-ball 72 and Sunil Narine took 4 wickets, per ESPNcricinfo, but they were downed by Delhi courtesy of some loose bowling.
The clash in Sharjah will likely go the way of Bangalore as the pitch favours batsmen, but if Narine and Morne Morkel can step up with the ball, it could be a close contest.
Sunrisers Hyderabad vs. Delhi Daredevils
Kevin Pietersen has yet to appear in this year's competition after an injury to his little finger saw him miss out on his side's opening games, as reported by cricket writer Chris Stocks:
Pietersen misses his third game in a row for Delhi with that injury to his right pinky #IPL7— Chris Stocks (@StocksC_cricket) April 21, 2014
However, he could finally make his debut as captain of Delhi when they face Hyderabad in Dubai on Friday, per CricketNDTV:
IPL 7: Delhi Daredevils skipper Kevin Pietersen expects to be fit for Sunrisers Hyderabad clash http://t.co/BNAAnSrQOl— CricketNDTV (@CricketNDTV) April 22, 2014
And the Daredevils could do with the former England batsman returning quickly as they have lost twice in their opening three games.
An eight-wicket loss to Bangalore and a 93-run drubbing to Chennai Super Kings sees them languishing at the wrong end of the table in sixth, per IPLT20.com.
Hyderabad were beaten by four wickets by Rajasthan Royals in their first match, but the presence of Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra in their bowling attack will give a returning Pietersen a challenging opener.
Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab have provided the batting fireworks so far this tournament, and they take on Kolkata on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Chief amongst the big hitters has been Australian Glenn Maxwell, who has scored an extraordinary 279 runs from his first three innings, per ESPNcricinfo.
95, 89, 95 - Glenn Maxwell is doing everything except get the 100. Can anyone stop this man? http://t.co/tAuge18j8y— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) April 22, 2014
His team posted scores of 206 against Chennai and 193 against Rajasthan and Hyderabad. Kolkata's highest total so far was 163 in Dubai when they were defeated by Delhi, per IPLT20.com.
The Knight Riders will look to Narine, Morkel and Piyush Chawla to tame Maxwell's immense hitting, but as the Aussie has looked equally good against every type of bowler, they will have a huge task on their hands if they want to beat Punjab.