About the Match
A win fro Mumbai Indians in the 7th IPL match gives an opportunity to the Kings from Punjab to go right at the top of the table. Kings XI Punjab will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on 10th April in 8th IPL game at Holkar Stadium, Indore. KXIP hit the bottom of the table last year and a win in this match could take them well on the path they're searching for. RCB, on the other hand, were one of the top sides last year. A win against Delhi Daredevils has already given new hopes to RCB and they'll be looking to strenghten their position and register as many wins as possible before AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli joins them.
Indore's stadium is known for its short boundaries and a quick outfield. The pitch is suited for strokeplay and even bounce which doesn't really change over the course of a T20 match. While winning the toss and setting up a big total could be an excellent choice, teams usually have preferred to chase in this IPL. Furthermore, determining the par score on this wicket can be tricky with so much batting prowess on both the sides. Both captains would like to win the toss and field first, which could be the battle half won.
Kings XI Punjab
Unlike last year, Punjab has started off the tournament with a convincing win. In their first match, against Rising Pune Supergiant, Kings chased down a subpar total of 163 runs with considerable ease. Maxwell managed to edge Steve Smith in the battle of Australian captains and will now be looking to outplay Shane Watson.
All Punjab batsmen got the feel of the conditions in their first game including David Miller and skipper himself. Glenn Maxwell looked in terrific touch as he smashed 44 off just 20 balls and seal the match. He was ably supported by David Miller who scored 30 with a rate of just over a run a ball. Maxwell is known to be pretty innovative with his batting and he followed the same approach when he sent Axar Patel at a crucial point in the game. His move paid off as Axar kept the partnership going.
Earlier, their bowlers did a brilliant job in restricting RPS for a sub-par total. Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma bowled well in the opening overs as the duo gave away just seven runs in the first three overs. Stoinis, Axar, and Natarajan kept things tight in the middle overs. Despite the addition of T Natarajan, their death bowling still looks to be a little weak, but with a battle lineup as strong as theirs, a target of 200 is well and truly chasable.
Likely Starting XI: Hashim Amla
- Manan Vohra - Wridhimann Saha (wk) - Glenn Maxwell (c) - Marcus Stoinis - David Miller
- Axar Patel - Swapnil Singh - Mohit Sharma -T Natarajan - Sandeep Sharma
Royal Challengers Bangalore
It wasn't a typical Bengaluru track in the last game for RCB. Barring Kedar Jadhav, batsmen failed to get going against excellent quick bowling unit of Delhi Daredevils. Had RCB lost that game, RCB would have been itching to get Kohli and de Villiers on the field in search of their first victory. Now that they have a couple of points on the board, they might well give duo a couple of additional days to recover and be fully fit for rest of the tournament.
With Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav and Mandeep Singh at the top, and all the inexperience to follow, their batting certainly looks a little too top-heavy. AB de Villiers is expected to make a return and if he does, we might see Stanlake sitting out.
Bowling has always been Achilles' heel for RCB, but their bowlers did extremely well to defend a mediocre total on Bangalore pitch. Chahal was once again the pick of the bowlers as he conceded 19 in his four overs. Although Abdulla picked two wickets, he was a little too expensive.
With ABDV expected to make a return, RCB will be fancying their chances on a flat Indore deck. If their bowling can bowl like even a fraction of what they did last time, and ABDV makes a return, Punjab will have their task cut out.
Likely Starting XI:
Mandeep Singh - Chris Gayle - Shane Watson (c)
- Kedar Jadhav (wk) - AB de Villiers
- Vishnu Vinod - Stuart Binny - Pawan Negi - Yuzvendra Chahal - Tymal Mills - Iqbal Abdualla.
The Numbers Game
- Chris Gayle is just 25 runs short of 10000 runs in T20 Cricket. Should he manages to score those, he'll become the first player to achieve this feat.
- Punjab and Bangalore have played against each other 18 times. Punjab has been the happier of the two sides 10 times while RCB has won 8 out of those.
RCB and KXIP are two sides with the most explosive batting lineup in the competition. With players like Maxwell and Miller on one and Gayke and Watson on other, the bowling could be a separating factor between the two. Both the sides are coming after brilliant bowling display and would have to maintain it. Kings XI Punjab will have the home advantage and RCB's lineup still appears to be far from settled. KXIP certainly go in as favorites to emerge on top on Monday.