About the Match
Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore occupy the fifth and eighth positions respectively in the IPL points table. These two teams will now take on each other in the 43rd match of the league at Bengaluru on 5th May. A win here will help Punjab in keeping their chances of finishing in the top four strong and alive. For Bangalore though, a playoff berth is practically already out of reach, and all that is left for them to play for is pride.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers have had a really poor season so far. They have won only two matches in eleven games, and are right at the bottom of the points table. One of their two wins has come against Delhi, which was more about Amit Mishra losing his mind and the game for his team than Bangalore actually winning it. The other was against Gujarat, where Bangalore’s batting was in full flow, but Gujarat made a valiant effort in the chase, undermining a less than potent Bangalore bowling attack.
They have lost eight of their other games, against Hyderabad, Punjab, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Gujarat, Pune and Mumbai, and one of their games, their second of the season against Hyderabad, was washed out due to persistent rain.
Royal Challengers spent their first few matches without their captain Virat Kohli and AB de villiers owing to fitness issues. The results have not improved much even after their return though, and the issue for RCB seems to be an overdependence on these two players. Bangalore fought hard against Mumbai in their last game, but could not stop Rohit Sharma from chasing down the target. They simply seem to be unable to find a win in any possible way right now.
Bangalore do not stand any practical chance of making it to the playoffs. Their bowling has been a weakness, but the batting has not been able to cover up for it. They have suffered as a result and now can only play to not finish at the bottom.
Kings XI Punjab
Punjab had started their campaign with wins in their first two matches at their second home, Indore, but then went on to lose four games in a row. Punjab began with an emphatic win over Pune, and then continued their run in the next match with an absolute thrashing of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But as they moved away from home, they lost the next three matches to Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad. In their next game against Mumbai, even a return to Indore could not change their fortunes. Hashim Amla scored a magnificent century and led Punjab to a daunting total of 198 runs, but Mumbai chased down this total in just 15.3 overs, highlighting a big weakness in Punjab’s bowling.
After four consecutive losses, Punjab were finally able to find a win against Gujarat. Amla again showed his class in this game with a sensible 65, and then Punjab’s spinners were able to restrict Gujarat in the chase. This win did not result in a complete change of fortunes though, as Punjab, missing an injured Amla desperately, surrendered meekly against Hyderabad.
But their see-saw campaign continued in their next match against Delhi, where they absolutely mauled Delhi, restricting them to a meager 67 and then chasing the target down easily.
Punjab have now got four wins out of nine games, and need to keep winning in order to stay in contention. They seem to have found the right combination which gives them the right balance, and now must utilize the momentum they have got to make their path towards top four easier.
RCB and Punjab are facing each other for the second time this season, with Punjab winning dominantly in the first encounter. The match being held in Bengaluru offers home advantage to RCB. But Punjab have had a better season and they have already beaten Bangalore once, and gives them slight edge in this regard. Overall, Punjab's bowling is mediocre and RCB is all about batting, and KXIP batsmen are likely to struggle against two legspinners available at Kohli's disposal. We'll place our money on Royal Challengers Bangalore.