IPL 2019: Royal Challengers Bangalore gears up for Kings XI Punjab battle

Defeat to CSK would have formally ended RCB's already faint hopes of progress in the competition. As it turned out, Parthiv Patel's throw hit the stumps, and RCB still has something to play for.

Virat Kohli (387) and A.B. de Villiers (332) remain RCB's leading scorers but it must please the captain that Parthiv and Moeen Ali have also contributed with the bat in recent fixtures.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The relief was evident on Virat Kohli's face on Sunday. When it seemed to all the world that Mahendra Singh Dhoni had pulled off another spectacular escape, RCB sneaked home.

Defeat to CSK would have formally ended RCB's already faint hopes of progress in the competition. As it turned out, Parthiv Patel's throw hit the stumps, and RCB still has something to play for.

Kohli's men will hope to carry that winning feeling into their next game, against Kings XI Punjab at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

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A huge factor in RCB's renaissance has been Dale Steyn. The South African fast bowler arrived, as Parthiv pointed out, "without any baggage of what had happened in the tournament before".

And he has been excellent, taking two wickets each — in the powerplay overs — against KKR and CSK. It's something RCB's bowlers had been failing to do earlier, and it has made a palpable difference.

Kohli (387) and A.B. de Villiers (332) remain RCB's leading scorers but it must please the captain that Parthiv and Moeen Ali have also contributed with the bat in recent fixtures.

Wednesday's game will be Moeen's last for RCB this season, with England's cricketers asked to report on April 26 for the start of their preparations for the World Cup.

Read: Foreign stars begin exodus as World Cup duty calls

Kohli admitted on Sunday that sending Moeen down the order at 6 against CSK was perhaps too much of a demotion. "Having one game left in the season for him, you might just see him come up the order and enjoy himself a little bit," he said post-match.

Kings XI Punjab has endured mixed luck this season, winning five and losing five. R. Ashwin's men are right in the thick of the race for the playoffs, and can afford few missteps in their final four games. "Our thought process is very simple. We have to win three games out of four and we'll take them one at a time," said Kings XI's Mayank Agarwal.

The 28-year-old batsman is one of several former RCB players currently in the Kings XI camp. Chris Gayle, a favourite of the crowds during his time with RCB, K.L. Rahul, and Mandeep Singh have all called this venue home before. "Obviously, knowing the dimensions of the ground and knowing how the wicket plays and what has been the trend — all of that does make a difference," Agarwal felt.

Also read: Moeen Ali - A shame to be flying back early

When the two teams last met, 10 days ago, Gayle made an unbeaten 99 (64b), even if RCB won quite comfortably in the end. The Jamaican is sure to receive a hero’s welcome on Wednesday — regardless of who he is turning out for.

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