Kings XI Punjab’s only win of the campaign so far has come against Royal Challengers Bangalore, when the two teams had met in Dubai. KXIP were dominant with bat and ball in that match, but have failed to win any of their 5 matches since. Kohli’s team though has won four out of the five matches after losing to KL Rahul’s bunch that night and are near the top of the table.
Both teams have chopped and changed but RCB have managed to settle down with their top stars leading the way. KXIP on the other hand have lost close matches, changed their side in almost every match and have only skipper KL Rahul performing consistently for them.
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Rahul scored a century when KXIP beat RCB, and on Thursday he will have to lead from the front again. Problem is the wickets have slowed down and RCB’s bowling has been strengthened by their excellent spin duo of Chahal and Sundar, while the pace bowling department has got a shot in the arm with Chris Morris regaining full fitness.
Add to that the fact that Finch, Kohli and De Villiers are in good form and the young Padikkal has been more than impressive at the top of the order and you have an in form team taking on a side in complete disarray.
Chris Gayle is said to be fit and he could very well add some much needed zing to the flagging spirits in the Kings’ dugout. But Anil Kumble’s wards will have to dig deep to get the better of RCB this time around.
Another loss will all but close the door on the Kings. They need the bowlers to step up if they are to bat first and try and defend totals because chasing is turning out to be a worry for the team with a very weak middle order.
RCB on the other hand would hope they continue their thorough performances with bat and ball and that should be enough to see them sail past the underperforming KXIP.