IPL 2019 RCB vs KXIP Match 42: What can we expect?

Ahead of today’s IPL game between hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab in Bengaluru, here are the talking points:

Can RCB keep the miracle alive?

After losing six matches in a row, RCB won a game for their first points of the season, only to lose again. That left them to win all their remaining matches to try and qualify for the IPL playoffs. They have won two in a row to keep their hopes flickering, but still remain last on the points table.

If they can beat Punjab for a hat-trick of wins, RCB will stay alive. Three games remain after this one, and each day turns into a must-win for Virat Kohli’s team.

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Another Gayle show at the Chinnaswamy?

Chris Gayle enjoys batting at Bengaluru’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of his record 175* for RCB in the 2013 IPL. When RCB met KXIP in Mohali earlier this season, Gayle was left on 99 not out and his team lost to Bangalore, who ended a run of six defeats in a row.

KXIP need wins to get their IPL 2019 campaign back on track. If Gayle can get going on his old home ground against his former team, expect fireworks and big KXIP total to try and test RCB.

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Steyn’s threat

Trying to stop Gayle will be Dale Steyn, who since joining RCB recently as a replacement for Nathan Coulter-Nile has been instrumental in both their wins. He has taken four wickets inside the Powerplay overs, which was a glaring aspect for RCB this season before Steyn showed up.

Dale Steyn arrival RCB 2019
Dale Steyn’s arrival has sparked an upswing in RCB’s fortunes. © BCCI

Prior to Steyn’s arrival, RCB had managed just three wickets in the Powerplay at an economy of 8.77. With Steyn bowling up front, RCB have managed seven in two game at an economy of 5.75.

In the one-run win over CSK, Steyn dismissed Shane Watson and Suresh Raina in successive deliveries to give RCB a terrific start. Against stroke-makers like Gayle, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, watch how Steyn bowls. He’s not one to compromise on pace or hostility.

KXIP need Ashwin the tactician and bowler

R Ashwin has led KXIP well this season, barring one gaffe when he miscounted how many fielders he had outside the circle, and his bowling, fielding and batting have been instrumental at key phases. On a batting pitch, against the likes of Kohli, AB de Villiers, Moeen Ali and Marcus Stoinis, the offspinner has his job cut out.

One area where Ashwin could look to pile on the pressure is when Parthiv Patel bats. The left-hander has scored fairly quickly during the Powerplay, but after that passage he has been slow. Ashwin is a crafty bowler, so expect him to bring himself on if Parthiv survives the Powerplay.

Can KXIP break RCB’s deadlock?

RCB have won the last three games between these two teams, which leaves KXIP struggling to find a way past them. This season, barring the loss to Delhi Capitals, KXIP’s losses have all been by big margins which suggests they struggle to close out matches.

RCB are a team who have also been let down in clutch moments. They lost to Mumbai Indians by six runs, to Rajasthan Royals with one ball left and then somehow overcame a tremendous assault from Andre Russell to beat KKR by ten runs. That was followed by a one-run victory over CSK.

This match seems like a proper who-blinks-first contest between two exciting teams packed with explosive talent, but too reliant on a few players.