RCB-vs-KXIP-PREVIEW

A resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will be hosting an insecure Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Match 50 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. RCB are currently fifth on the IPL 9 Points Table with 12 points from 12 matches. A win will take them to 14 points. RCB’s excellent Net Run Rate ensures that if it comes down to that, they will have a big chance of going through to the playoffs of the tournament. If they win against KXIP they will be red-hot favourites against Delhi Daredevils in their final match.Live Cricket Scorecard: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2016 Match 50 at Bengaluru

RCB have been a team built on the backs of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, but lately their bowlers are starting to wake up. Shane Watson has been RCB’s standout bowler, but Chris Jordan and Yuzvendra Chahal too have stepped up in the last few games. Stuart Binny has not been used much but he has done a decent job, and Iqbal Abdulla was outstanding against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their last match. What this means is that RCB are peaking at the right time. They need 2 wins in their final 2 matches in order to qualify for the playoffs, but their superb Net Run Rate means that even with 1 more win they stand good chance of making the final four. READ: Virat Kohli continues to defy reality in IPL 2016

KXIP, on the other hand, are officially out of contention. They join Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) in the knocked-out pile of IPL 9. Much like RPS, nothing seems to be working for KXIP despite their best efforts to stay alive in the tournament. Hashim Amla finally found form in the previous match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), but a Yuvraj Singh special meant that KXIP lost in the final over. One feels had KXIP been led by Murali Vijay from the start of IPL 2016 their fate may have differed, but under David Miller’s leadership, KXIP won precious little. READ: Virat Kohli and the bat of destiny: RCB’s Deathly Hallow in IPL 2016

As if life was not already difficult for KXIP, their best batsman Shaun Marsh picked up an injury midway through the tournament, and now even Glenn Maxwell has been ruled out of the remainder of IPL 9 with an abdominal strain. Mitchell Johnson has been a shadow of his former self, and Miller has struggled for runs. With seemingly everything going against them, KXIP have had to search for new heroes. Vijay himself has been the backbone of the KXIP batting, while Wriddhiman Saha and Marcus Stoinis have done well in patches.

Stoinis has been decent with the ball as well, but KXIP’s true saviours have been Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma. The two medium-pacers have been excellent with both new ball and at the death, which has allowed KXIP to rise from the bottom of the table to the No. 7.

Given the current form of both teams and given that the match is being played in Bengaluru, it is likely that RCB will breeze past KXIP. The form that Kohli and de Villiers are in will give the KXIP bowlers a sleepless night. Even the under-fire Chris Gayle was among the runs against KKR, which only makes RCB look more intimidating. It will not be too surprising if the match sees another century from an RCB batsman and a resounding victory for the hosts.

Squads:

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Adam Milne, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Akshay Karnewar, Iqbal Abdulla, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas, Abu Nechim, David Wiese, Kedar Jadhav, Sreenath Aravind.

Kings XI Punjab: Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, David Miller (c), Manan Vohra, Murali Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Akshar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Johnson, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Kyle Abbott, KC Cariappa, Marcus Stoinis, Farhaan Behardien, Pradeep Sahu, Armaan Jaffer, Swapnil Singh.

Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is an animal lover and comic, film and TV geek. A fast bowler at heart, he enjoys watching a good, low-scoring game of cricket. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)