In a blockbuster Sunday clash, two arch rivals; Virat Kohli and Steven Smith will be at loggerheads against each other while representing their IPL teams. Despite both captains are in sublime form this season, their teams are languishing at the bottom of Indian Premier League match points table. Steven Smith-led Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) stands at eighth position while Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is struggling at 6th spot in the IPL points table.
Kohli’s return has definitely boosted the RCB’s batting unit. Likewise, Ab De Villiers is always an asset for his side. Samuel Badree’s hattrick against Mumbai Indians once again proved that RCB team is unpredictable and nobody knows when its players will make a massive impact in a game within a flash of second.
Team News for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
Kohli’s comeback innings of 62 off 47 balls marked his arrival to IPL with a good knock, and certainly he will try keep up his form in the remaining matches too. RCB middle order includes the likes of Pawan Negi, Kedar Jadhav and Mandeep Singh who can prove their worth against RPS at death overs.
In bowling, RCB will depend upon its spinners Chahal and Badree. Fast bowling unit will be spearheaded by S Aravind, Stuart Binny and Tymal Mills. RCB may drop Chris Gayle and picks up Shane Watson as replacement as the right-hander can be a good bowling option too with his crafty medium pace.
Gayle has failed to hit a single fifty in his last 11 innings and is definitely going through the leanest phase of his career in recent times. But Gayle is just 3-run short of getting his 10,000 runs in T20 cricket so it is very unlikely that Kohli will keep him out of tomorrow’s match – who knows once he gets that landmark – he regains his lost explosive form too.
Team News for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS)
Pune’s big concern would be the continued poor form of MS Dhoni. The veteran batsman has managed just 33 runs in his last 4 IPL matches. Earlier, he regains his form better it would be for the team Pune.
Consistency does matter in IPL, and if RPS really wish to proceed in the tournament then it needs some exhilarating batting up the order from Rahane, Rahul and Steven Smith. Until now, only Steven Smith has showed some good outing with the bat scoring 84*, 26 and 43 while other players are still struggling with their form. There will be some massive expectations from Ben Stokes and Manoj Tiwary in tomorrow’s match – both haven’t performed as per the expectations so far.
Pune’s bowling will largely depend upon its spinner Imran Tahir and Adam Zampa. Their 8 overs will be crucial to the team. Likewise, the bowling combination of Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Stokes and Shardul Thakur will lead Pune’s pace attack on Sunday’s match.
Predicted Playing XI (Both Teams)
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Virat Kohli (Captain), Chris Gayle/Shane Watson, AB de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav, Vishnu Vinod (Wicket Keeper), Mandeep Singh, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tymal Mills and Sreenath Aravind.
Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS): Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Shardul Thakur, Adam Zampa, Steven Smith (Captain), Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni (Wicket Keeper), Imran Tahir, Ankit Sharma and Jaydev Unadkat.
Result Prediction: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will win.
Venue: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. Match will telecast live on SONY ESPN from 8 PM onwards.