Dubai: Left in disarray after consecutive losses, Royal Challengers Bangalore face the arduous task of taming the yet-to-be-beaten table-toppers Kings XI Punjab when the two sides clash in an IPL match here today.
Yuvraj Singh (left) and Virat Kohli hold the aces for RCB who find themselves on the backfoot. PTI Photo/BCCI.
The contrast in their fortunes could not have been deeper going into the match. RCB, sans West Indian marauder Chris Gayle who is nursing a sore back, were completely outplayed in their most recent match — against Rajasthan Royals.
Their star-studded batting line-up collapsed to the third lowest IPL total ever before Rajasthan made short work of the paltry 71-run target in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Except for skipper Virat Kohli, none of the RCB batsmen could make any noteworthy contribution.
Decent starts for Yuvi
Yuvraj Singh has been getting decent knocks but the pace of his scoring remains a concern. Saturday’s loss was a crushing one and Kohli wants to forget it as quickly as possible but it would be quite a task for his team to turn it around against Punjab, by far the most consistent team of the season so far.
Barring the game against Kolkata Knight Riders, which was won by their bowlers, Punjab’s batsmen, especially Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, have been in murderous form. It would require a very special effort to stop them, something that KKR’s spin combo of Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla managed to do on Saturday before KXIP produced some magic of their own with the ball through the pace pair of Sandeep Sharma and Mitchell Johnson.
A big positive for KXIP is senior opener Virender Sehwag’s return to some form. The veteran, who has fallen out of national reckoning, is slowly getting back into the groove with some decent contributions.
101: The number of runs Virat Kohli has scored for Royal Challengers Bangalore in four innings in IPL-7
IPL on TV: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab, Live on Sony Max, Sony Six & Sony Six HD, 20:00
. Chris Gayle was trapped plumb in front of the wicket off medium pacer Parvinder Awana when he was 4 off 11 balls, but was not given out. Taking full advantage of this let-off, Gayle went on to help Royal Challengers Bangalore post 122 in the last 10 overs!
. Luck turned on the night, though. Adam Gilchrist survived a huge leg-before shout at 18 off 16 when he didn’t pick a Muttiah Muralitharan doosra
. A mix of outside edges, inside edges and some vintage Gilchrist shots, and helped by Azhar Mahmood’s 61 off 41, stunned Royal Challengers, ending the chase of 175 with 11 balls to spare KXIP won by seven wickets