IPL 2013 Preview: Royal Challengers Bangalore eying payback against Kings XI Punjab

Royal Challengers Bangalore face a bit of competition to make the cut for the next round © IANS

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Bangalore: May 13, 2013

With an eye on a berth in the Indian Premier League (IPL), 2013 play-offs, the Royal Challengers Bangalore take on the Kings XI Punjab.

While Punjab have been knocked out, Bangalore face a bit of competition to make the cut for the next round. However, they are playing at their fortress, the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium and would back themselves to do the job.

Bangalore are coming off a defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders at Ranchi. They have generally struggled away from home this season and that might come back to haunt them. However, Virat Kohli’s men must focus on the job at hand and seal qualification. The good thing is that both their remaining games are at Bangalore and that should boost their confidence.

Chris Gayle is the key yet again as a performance from him can turn the tables in Bangalore’s favour. The Chinnaswamy Stadium has been his happy hunting ground. He has dazzled the arena with some fantastic knocks and needs to do it again. Cheteshwar Pujara is the calming influence at the other end, but must accelerate a little earlier. That would reduce the pressure on Gayle and help Bangalore set a stronger base.

Kohli and AB de Villiers are the other men in form and back Gayle in the middle. Both have been in good form this season. Kohli has been the anchor at number three and de Villiers has added tremendous value with his idiosyncratic innovations. It is imperative that the likes of Saurabh Tiwary and Moises Henriques contribute to take the pressure off the top order.

Bangalore have more or less maintained their bowling combination with Ravi Rampaul, R Vinay Kumar and Murali Karthik forming the core. The others around them have been shuffled around as they haven’t found consistent options.

Punjab have nothing to play for but pride. It is sad that a side that promises a lot fails to make the cut. They have been inconsistent during this season and that has cost them. In a few games, they have been absolutely brilliant as a few great performances have lifted their morale, only to see it dented with mediocre showings in others.

David Miller is the star of the season for Punjab. He has been phenomenal since he entered the eleven and has scripted a few breath-taking knocks. None of the other batsmen have been as consistent. David Hussey, a man who was their anchor hasn’t been himself this season. Luke Pomersbach replaced him for the last game and struggled to keep pace. Perhaps, Hussey might return to the eleven at Pomersbach’s expense.

Adam Gilchrist has had an indifferent season and might consider giving a few younger players a go. That is what they might look to do as they have nothing to lose. 

During the last game, Sandeep Sharma impressed with his accuracy and movement. Piyush Chawla was also good as Punjab threatened to bowl out Sunrisers Hyderabad. Praveen Kumar and Parvinder Awana haven’t had very successful seasons. Yet, they can be a handful and cause problems. This bowling attack would face a stern test against the Bangalore batting in their own den.

The last time the two sides met, Miller snatched the game from Bangalore’s grasp. Kohli would eye redemption and would say that it is payback time.

Teams:

Royal Challengers Bangalore (Probable): Chris Gayle, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Saurabh Tiwary, Moises Henriques, Murali Karthik, R Vinay Kumar, Ravi Rampaul, J Syed Mohammad, Jaydev Unadkat.

Kings XI Punjab (Probable): Adam Gilchrist (c&wk), Mandeep Singh, Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, David Miller, Rajagopal Sathish, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Parvinder Awana, Harmeet Singh.

Time: 16.00 local | 10.30 GMT 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/nishad_44)