IPL 2013 Preview: Kings XI Punjab look to keep campaign alive in clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore

On paper, this game could go to the Royal Challengers Bangalore but the current scenario makes Kings XI Punjab (above) tricky opposition © IANS

By Prakash Govindasreenivasan

Mohali: May 5, 2013

The Kings XI Punjab seek a desperate win over the second-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday in a bid to stay alive in the race for the top four of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013.

The PCA Stadium at Mohali will see a tense crowd as the home side aim to script a backdoor entry in the playoffs with a win required from all their remaining matches.

Their first hurdle is the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore who, to Punjab’s delight, don’t boast of a great away record in this year’s IPL. However, they are coming from an away win over Pune Warriors India and cannot be discounted at any cost.

As far as the home side are concerned, it was a case of ‘so near yet so far’ when they travelled down south to take on the Chennai Super Kings in Chennai. Buoyed by a brilliantly paced century by Suresh Raina, the home side posted 187 which proved 15-20 runs too many for the Kings XI Punjab to chase down. Yet, the performances of Shaun Marsh and David Miller would have brought a smile on skipper David Hussey’s face.

From his team’s point of view, he needs to get his bowling combinations right against a side that have an arsenal of big hitters in Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. In the bowling department, Hussey did smartly against Chennai when he bowled himself early on and quickly wrapped up his four overs and conceded only a little over six runs an over. Bangalore’s opener Gayle has been phenomenal so far but has shown his weakness and general reluctance to play against spinners. If Hussey can make a brave move and bowl himself early on to remove Gayle, his side could be in for a chance with a win.

For Virat Kohli’s side, they just need to take one game at a time and ensure they cling onto their second spot in the points table. Punjab is not an opponent that can instill fear in the minds of the opposition but Kohli will be well aware of their Australian spirit of fighting till the last ball is bowled. Kohli will also brace himself for an opposition that will play out of their skins as they need a lot of hardwork and results going their way.

Kohli would probably not be keen on tinkering with the winning combination. The inclusion of Moises Henriques over an out-of-form Tillakaratane Dilshan proved to be a good move as Henriques put on an allround show for RCB. For Punjab, either of Manpreet Gony or Rajagopal Sathish could make way for Harmeet Singh who can be useful on the pacy wicket at Mohali.

On paper, this game could go to the Royal Challengers Bangalore, but the current scenario makes Kings XI Punjab tricky opposition. This game will be a true test of Bangalore’s dominance against Punjab’s grit.

Teams:

Kings XI Punjab (Probable): Mandeep Singh, Luke Pomersbach, David Hussey (c), Shaun Marsh, Gurkeerat Singh (wk), David Miller, Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Rajagopal Sathish, Parvinder Awana, Harmeet Singh.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (Probable): Saurabh Tiwary, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Moises Henriques, Lokesh Rahul, Arun Karthik (wk), R Vinay Kumar, Murali Kartik, Muttiah Muralitharan, RP Singh.

Time: 20:00 local | 14:30 GMT

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC)