About the Match
Both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rising Pune Supergiant have not had the best of the starts to their Indian Premier League campaigns. Both are languishing in the lower half of the table after having won only one match each of their respective first four encounters. These two teams will take on each other in the 17th match of the league at Bengaluru on 16th April and a win here will be equally important for both sides to gain some much-required momentum and make a move towards the top four. Despite it traditionally being a batting-friendly surface and ground, both the matches at Bengaluru till now have surprisingly been low scoring affairs. So will the third one produce a high scoring thriller? Both the teams sure have the batting firepower to produce a run fest but will they actually fire?
Toss has played a crucial role in the competition so far. More often than not, the team that has won the Toss has taken the game as well. Bangalore's surface is known for his batting friendly deck, but it's slowness played a vital role in last game. This match, however, will be a night game and pitch is expected to significantly get better as the game progresses. Winning the Toss and chasing has been a winning mantra in night matches in the tournament and we do not expect anything different in this match. Winning the Toss and fielding first will the first thing the captains would want to do in this match.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli is back for Bangalore and made an impact straightaway on his arrival in their last match against Mumbai Indians. He batted beautifully but the others failed around him and Chris Gayle, in particular, could not get going after a typically slow start.
Samuel Badree, playing his first match of the season was exceptional with the ball and claimed a fantastic hat trick but the other bowlers could not finish the job.
After having spent the first few matches without the captain and some other players owing to some fitness issues within the team, RCB now has a full strength team at their disposal. Should they fire collectively, this unit is very hard to stop. But they have not been able to perform as a team till now and it’s high time that they start doing so as momentum is very important in a league like IPL and they cannot afford to fall too much behind the others.
Likely Starting XI:
Virat Kohli (c) - Chris Gayle - AB de Villiers - Kedar Jadhav (wk) - Mandeep Singh - Pawan Negi - Stuart Binny - Yuzvendra Chahal - Tymal Mills - Samuel Badree - Sreenath Aravind.
Rising Pune Supergiant
They started their campaign with an emphatic win over the Mumbai Indians, chasing down 185 runs with ease on the back of some great batting by the captain Steve Smith and opener Ajinkya Rahane. However, they fizzled after that and couldn’t translate the opening success to wins in the matches thereafter.
They have now lost three matches in a row, and against Gujarat, in their last match they made wholesale changes to the side in a bid to find the perfect winning combination but failed to do so. New players like Tripathi, Ankit Sharma, and Shardul Thakur did fairly well but Ferguson went for plenty. This could mean further changes to the side. They are a quality team and have the resources to bounce back but will need to regroup quickly in order to arrest this slide.
Smith's side punched well above their weight when they toured India in white colors. It's a different team, different format, different colors, but the opposition captain is same: Virat Kohli. It certainly is a tough challenge for Rising Pune Supergiant, but RPS fires all cylinders, it can definitely put up a fierce challenge to them.
Likely Starting XI:
Ajinkya Rahane - Rahul Tripathi - Steve Smith - MS Dhoni - Ben Stokes - Ankit Sharma - Adam Zampa - Shardul Thakur - Rahul Chahar - Imran Tahir.
- The Numbers Game
- RCB has a spotless record against RPS. In the two encounters happened so far, RCB has won both.
Out of all the bowlers available at Pune's disposal, only Ashok Dinda has dismissed Virat Kohli. However, Dinda's performance has been sub-par in this season and is expected to sit out in this match.
- RPS has batted first on nine occasions and has tasted defeat in all of them. Evidently, setting targets doesn't work for them too well.
RCB and Pune are facing each other for the first time this season and the match being held in Bengaluru can come down to a straight shoot off between the two batting orders. Both the teams have the batting to outdo each other on any given day, but RCB possess unmatched power and quality in their top order and this gives them the upper hand in this contest