Ravichandran Ashwin’s side are in the middle of the points table at the moment with 10 points from 10 games. A couple of wins will almost assure them a berth in the playoffs but RCB could prove to be a major hurdle after finally finding a few wins.
The win over Chennai Super Kings might have been only by a solitary run but RCB know that barring a freak knock by MS Dhoni, they had dominated the whole encounter. Virat Kohli finally found his groove and raced to his first century of the season against Kolkata Knight Riders last week.
With AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali looking in fine form with the willow, and along with skipper Kohli, RCB have enough firepower to post a big enough total at the placid Chinnaswamy track. The bowling has been the biggest worry for Kohli but Dale Steyn’s addition has provided him a lot of cheer.
Since his arrival in Bangalore, Steyn has had an immediate impact, picking wickets inside Power Play. Kohli will expect more of the same as Steyn will face the ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle and Bangalore ‘hometown hero’ KL Rahul first up.
Apart from Rahul, it’s also homecoming for Mayank Agarwal, who has stepped up a notch since breaking into the Indian Test side. Kings XI boast of a far more consistent bowling attack as compared to RCB. Team India paceman Mohammed Shami had led the way with 13 scalps in 10 games while Ashwin has bagged 11 wickets so far.
The visitors’ bowling attack will need to be at their best to halt RCB in front of packed crowd at home. The question is can Kohli’s RCB string a few wins in a row and get back into contention of making the playoffs?
RCB won by eight wickets the first time the two teams met this season, in Mohali. It was the game that ended their six-match losing streak this season.
Players to watch out for
Virat Kohli: The RCB skipper has had one of his toughest seasons, both as captain and batsman. After losing six games on the trot, Kohli has found some cheer with couple of wins on the trot. The century against KKR was a turning point in the season for Kohli, who will look to end this season with a bang before heading into the ICC World Cup.
Chris Gayle: No bowling attack feels safe with the prospect of facing the Universe Boss. RCB know the West Indian very closely with Gayle having been an integral part of the franchise for many seasons. The Kings XI opener loves the Chinnaswamy stadium and will relish his return to Bangalore.
Team News/ Availability:
RCB: Moeen Ali will be playing in possibly his last game of the IPL this season with the English players set to return by April 26. For Wednesday’s clash, Kohli can stick to the winning XI.
KXIP: Moises Henriques is injured and remain unavailable but Andrew Tye could replace Hardus Viljoen, who proved expensive in the last game.
Probable Playing XI:
RCB: Virat Kohli (C), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Moeen Ali, Dale Steyn, Navdeep Saini, Akshdeep Nath, Pawan Negi and Marcus Stoinis.
KXIP: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Andrew Tye/ Hardus Viljoen, Murugan Ashwin and Mohammed Shami.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (C), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Moeen Ali, Shimron Hetmyer, Dale Steyn, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Devdutt Padikkal, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Heinrich Klaasen, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Akshdeep Nath, Prayas Ray Barman, Kulwant Khejroliya, Tim Southee.
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Karun Nair, Moises Henriques, Varun Chakravarthi, Harpreet Brar, Simran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Hardus Viljoen, Ankit Rajpoot, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Agnivesh Ayachi.
First Published: April 23, 2019, 8:17 PM IST