IPL 2019: Kings XI senses chance against battered RCB

After six consecutive losses in the Indian Premier League season 12, it’s now or never for Virat Kohli’s men; toss could be crucial.

Three weeks ago when the tournament commenced, none would have visualised this scenario — R. Ashwin’s men entering the second half of the campaign with four wins and an exasperated Virat Kohli’s brigade still searching for its first victory.   -  akhilesh kumar

Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to snap its six-match losing streak in IPL-12, at the PCA Stadium where Kings XI Punjab has won all three matches so far.

Three weeks ago when the tournament commenced, none would have visualised this scenario — R. Ashwin’s men entering the second half of the campaign with four wins and an exasperated Virat Kohli’s brigade still searching for its first victory.

Usually, teams aim for an eighth win to ensure a place in the playoffs. Obviously, Punjab is far closer to the target than Bangalore is. Notwithstanding the fact that Kings XI faces a struggling RCB twice in its next seven matches, the side is optimistic of winning at least four more times and reach the playoffs.

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Well rested

RCB, hoping for mathematically-possible eight straight wins, returns to action well rested. It remains to be seen how this six-day break helps rejuvenate this beleaguered side on Saturday.

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Royal Challengers’ embarrassing defeats have hurt its esteem. The inadequacy of the bowling resources stood reinforced when the side could not defend 205 at home against Kolkata Knight Riders.

In these testing times for bowling coach Ashish Nehra, Kohli, too, must be tired of searching for “positives” from each defeat.

Preferred choice

With its pride badly bruised, RCB can be expected to come very hard at its rival in search of redemption. Considering the dew-soaked ground here, as seen in the previous matches, batting second is the preferred choice. Therefore, winning the toss is crucial.

Ashwin, twice lucky with the toss, knows if there was ever a time to beat RCB, it is now. If K.L. Rahul’s maturity has kept Kings XI’s batting unit in shape, the bowlers have done reasonably well too.

Overall, considering the composition, Punjab has found the balance that has so far eluded Royal Challengers.