Royal Challengers Bangalore face Kings XI Punjab in match 31 of IPL 2020 in Sharjah. This is the second meeting between the two teams in this IPL season. Kings XI got the better of RCB in their first encounter. That also remains the only victory for Punjab in this IPL season far, Since then RCB has won five games are sitting at the third position in the points table, while KXIP are languishing at the bottom.
Along with Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore are looking the three most balanced team in the tournament, which is now halfway through. Their 82-run win against KKR in their last match only strengthens the context. Their bowling has very well complemented their batting efforts throughout the first seven games. Navdeep Saini has led the charge with the ball in the absence of Dale Steyn alongside.
Where Royal Challengers Bangalore has really made it count is through their spin attack. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar have beautifully bowled in tandem. Their performance against KKR all the more proves the importance of their contribution to the side.
The spin-duo has picked up 15 wickets together with Sundar mostly bowling inside the powerplay. With the pitches slowing up in the second half of the league stage, their role increases all the more for their side. One expects them to relish this challenge as well. Throw Chris Morris into the mix and their bowling attack looks even more potent.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, have their backs against the wall. They will potentially have to win all seven to make a case for themselves to reach the playoffs. They have failed to find the right combination still in the tournament. Apart from their inconsistent middle-order batting, their death bowling has kept them thinking.
They have tried Chris Jordan and Jimmy Neesham at the death, but unfortunately, both have gone for runs. They are in desperate need to string together a number of wins. There are talks of bringing back Chris Gayle into the batting line-up to give them some much-needed firepower in the batting line-up.
Most importantly, the side has to choose an ideal playing XI keeping in mind the conditions in Sharjah, which does not have the same batting-friendly wicket it had when the season started.
Head to Head
Out of the 24 games played between the two Punjab has won 14 and Banglore 11. Kings XI Punjab beat Royal Challengers Bangalore when the two teams met for the first time this season.
Pitch & Weather Conditions
If the RCB vs KKR game was anything to go by, the pitch in Sharjah will slow down considerably in the second innings. The pitch will have more assistance for bowlers and more so spinners. Captains winning the toss in the second half of the tournament will now fancy batting first and defending the target.
Accordingly, they would have to choose an ideal playing XI as well.
RCB having won their previous match at this venue against KKR, would like to field an unchanged side and follow the same template. Kings XI, on the other hand, need to identify personnel who can help them win matches continuously from here on. Chris Gayle is almost a certainty for inclusion having recovered from his stomach bug.
Kings XI Punjab
Lokesh Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, James Neesham, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Sheldon CottrellBenchChris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Deepak Hooda, Hardus Viljoen, Jagadeesha Suchith, Ishan Porel, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Tajinder Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, AB de Villiers, Josh Philippe (wk), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav, Dale Steyn, Yuzvendra ChahalBenchParthiv Patel, Isuru Udana, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Chris Morris, Adam Zampa, Pavan Deshpande, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed