These two teams have had contrasting seasons in IPL 2018 so far. Kings XI Punjab had a surprisingly good start to the season while Royal Challengers Bangalore have been flopping all season, carrying off how they ended their season last year. This year, however, they have been good enough to avoid the last place on the points table and while they are virtually out, three wins in three games give them an outside chance of making the playoffs.
Punjab however, have a much better chance of qualifying and a couple of wins will seal the deal for them. Punjab is coming into this game after taking a whacking against Kolkata, who scored 245. However, they did well to post a 200+ score in reply. Bangalore on the other end are coming into this game with more confidence, winning their last one against Delhi Daredevils.
Bangalore have always boasted of a good batting order and this year was no different, and while AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli have had their moments of brilliance, they haven’t been consistently putting in high scores and having as much of an impact that they’ve had in previous seasons of the Indian Premier League. Both scored seventies in the last win and while they were a treat to all those who watched, I can help but admit that these two only perform well when they bat together and one’s wicket generally follows the other’s.
459 runs were hit in the last game here between KXIP and KKR, so we’re expecting another run fest but both teams will only have 2-3 main batsmen so we’re expecting it to come down to the team that bowls better. For RCB, the Kohli-ABD duo will be vital while the opening pair of Gayle and Rahul will be vital for Punjab. Expect more changes in the KXIP line up between options like Akshdeep Nath, Axar Patel, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh and Mayank Agarwal.
We saw Mujeeb Zadran walking off the field for a while in the last game due to a hit to his wrist and conceded over 20 runs in the over he bowled on his return. He’s expected to be fit for this game. RCB may introduce changes as well with Quinton de Kock now available for selection. If he’s picked, Parthiv could lose his spot and also one between Moeen Ali and Colin de Grandhomme. Manan Vohra will then also make a comeback to the team.
Punjab lead the head to head count between these two in the Indian Premier League – 12-9. I am favouring Bangalore to win this game but there is one thing they will be wary of and that is Chris Gayle. Gayle will be up against his former team and seeing his determination so far this IPL, RCB will want to introduce spinners in the powerplay and try to get his wicket as soon as possible.