The Royal Challengers Bangalore will have to live up to their reputation of being hometown bullies if they hope to remain in contention for the playoffs as they return to familiar environment to take on the unpredictable Kings XI Punjab here today.
RCB’s track record at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium this season has been as impeccable as most other teams. However, after suffering four defeats in six away games in the past few weeks, they need to win both their remaining matches at home, including one against the rampaging Chennai Super Kings.
With 16 points from 14 matches, RCB have to constantly look over their shoulders at Sunrisers Hyderabad. RCB can ill-afford to drop any more points and would be hoping that their key players Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Kohli besides the bowlers fire in union.
RCB’s dependence on the trio of Gayle, Virat Kohli and de Villiers needs no elaboration though the Jamaican’s success with the bat this season has been mostly at home where he has scores of 92 not out, 49 not out, 85 not out and 175 not out in four of the six games thus far, in sharp contrast to just one half-century (61) in the eight away matches.
The lack of consistency in the RCB ranks, especially in the away games, has hurt them and could well weigh them down at the wire in such an eventuality.
As for Adam Gilchrist’s Punjab side, the going has been up and down with a couple of close defeats affecting their progress on the league table.
A team without superstars, Kings XI have been struggling for the best part of the competition with their key players like Gilchrist, David Hussey and Shaun Marsh being inconsistent, not to mention their bowling in the end overs that has cost them precious runs.
Much of Kings XI’s chances tonight would hinge on the team composition and balance, but one more defeat will certainly rule them out of the playoffs race. Given RCB’s track record at home, the hosts could well notching up their ninth win that could extend their run in the tournament.
> Chris Gayle fires at the top
> Batters put up a better show
> AB de Villiers gets more time in the middle
> Jaydev Unadkat continues to bowl well
> Murali Kartik bowls miselry
> He converts his start into a big innings
> David Miller repeats his magic
> Shaun Marsh gets runs
> Gayle goes cheaply
> Parvinder Awana makes early inroads
Live on TV: RCB vs KXIP on Set Max and Sony Six, 4pm
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