Royal Challengers Bangalore are in desperate search of a win in order to keep their chances of making the playoffs alive. They are up against the powerhouse of Kings XI Punjab, who have lost just one out of seven games.
Venue: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
Date: Friday, May 9
Start time: 3:30 p.m. BST
Live on: Sony Six, Star Sports HD, Star Sports 1 (India), ITV4 (United Kingdom), SuperSport (South Africa), OSN (UAE), SkyTV (New Zealand), Network Ten (Australia), Channel 9 (Bangladesh), Sportsnet and Omni (Canada), Sports Max (West Indies), Geo Super (Pakistan) and Starhub (Singapore).
Weather: AccuWeather predicts that there will be a few thunderstorms around. They could be heavy enough to interrupt the match, but probably not heavy enough to lead to a washout.
Kings XI Punjab have been the team to beat this season. Between David Miller and Glenn Maxwell, they have obliterated almost every bowling attack they have come up against. Despite not having a star-studded bowling line-up, they a number of bowlers who have been impressive.
Mitchell Johnson is their trump card bowler and has picked up nine wickets at an average of 24.11. Akshar Patel and Rishi Dhawan have both been impressive and miserly with their economy rates while Sandeep Sharma has a bowling average of just 12.80. As a unit, there is no better team than Kings XI.
Their last outing saw Kings XI post a mammoth 231-4 in 20 overs, thanks to Maxwell, Miller and a late burst from George Bailey. Miller and Maxwell have found a way to make even the most astute bowlers look rather foolish. The big total helped them to a 44-run win over the Chennai Super Kings.
In contrast, Bangalore have struggled despite being packed with players like Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Mitchell Starc. After a thrilling win over Hyderabad over the weekend, Bangalore slumped to a 19-run defeat against the struggling Mumbai Indians. The batting has been largely average, sprinkled with some fireworks here and there.
This makes for an interesting scenario. When players have their backs against the wall, they often perform at their best. Bangalore must win, and Kings XI can afford to take things a little bit steady. But even when taking things steady, Maxwell has been brutal.
In an interview with Shirin Sadikot of IPLT20.com, Virender Sehwag revealed that the Australian is completely unfazed when it comes to batting:
Nothing matters to him – the bowlers or the fielders or the boundary. I felt like he was playing book cricket and every time he opened a page, it was four or six. It has been great to watch him bat. ...
I don’t think he is worried about his game; he’s more worried about golf and practises more golf than cricket. He just goes out there in the middle, gives his 100 percent out there and comes back happily with whatever he gets.
Bangalore have their work cut out for them on Friday. Kings XI, meanwhile, have found their licence to thrill, and fans will be hoping it continues.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Varun Aaron has been impressive with the ball, and the last time the two teams met, he picked up two wickets. Those scalps included Glenn Maxwell's wicket for just six runs. Aaron has 11 wickets at an average of just 14.36, and if he can keep it tidy against Punjab, Bangalore might be in with a shot.
Kings XI Punjab
If Glenn Maxwell doesn't get you, David Miller will. The South African has scored 218 runs at an average of 43.60 this season, and it's important that he does what Maxwell can't—should it come down to that.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli (c), Parthiv Patel, Tanmay Mishra, Yogesh Takawale, Vijay Zol, Yuvraj Singh, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Sachin Rana, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shadab Jakati, Sandeep Warrier, Harshal Patel, Nic Maddinson, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Albie Morkel, Mitchell Starc, Muttiah Muralitharan and Ravi Rampaul.
Kings XI Punjab
George Bailey (c), Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Gurkeerat Singh, Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Rishi Dhawan, Glenn Maxwell, Akshar Patel, Thisara Perera, Wriddhiman Saha, Parvinder Awana, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Beuran Hendricks, Mitchell Johnson, Murali Kartik, Anureet Singh, Karanveer Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Shivam Sharma.