After the contentious umpiring error in its opening game, Kings XI Punjab would look to start afresh when it takes on Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League match on Thursday.
The head-to-head stats are on even scale with both teams having won 12 matches each, as the Dubai International Stadium gets ready to host a cracker of a match.
The pitch, as was seen in the first two matches, wasn’t ideally a batting paradise and the new ball did move about a bit. The dew, however, wasn’t much of an issue in the second innings unlike at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Kings XI would feel a little aggrieved after its loss to Delhi Capitals last Sunday. A Chris Jordan run in the 19th over was called short by umpire Nitin Menon and it proved crucial when the game was tied -- calling for the need of better umpiring and use of technology in the tournament.
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RCB, on the other hand, will be high on confidence, having beaten Sunrisers Hyderabad by 10 runs in its first game. Skipper Kohli, however, will be looking to fine-tune the bowling unit which started to look helpless when Jonny Bairstow started firing.
THE KEY MEN
All speculations about Kohli opening the innings would have been put to rest considering how things have panned out. Youngster Devdutt Padikkal had a dream debut and the Karnataka batsman seem to combine well with Australia’s Aaron Finch. Kohli didn’t have the best of starts to the tournament but it is just matter of time before he gets into the groove. Moreover, AB de Villiers’ being in form and the quickfire fifty confirms the potency of RCB's top-order.
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Batting wise, Shivam Dube and young gun Josh Philippe are yet to be tested. Should the track offer a hint of turn, it would be interesting to see either England all-rounder Moeen Ali or Adam Zampa get a look in. Ali, who can also chip in with the bat, might tilt the scale in his favour. Umesh Yadav, having conceded 48 runs in four overs, could make way for Mohammed Siraj but the call seems a bit far-fetched. Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini will again be Kohli's go-to bowlers.
With opener Mayank Agarwal starting off with a brilliant knock, Chris Gayle will have to wait a little longer for his chance. Karun Nair, Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell failed to click in the middle order, and it will be interesting to see if K.L. Rahul opts for any changes. He does have an interesting option in Mandeep Singh. However, he may be tempted to replace Chris Jordan with Mujeeb Ur Rahman, to complement Sheldon Cottrell, Mohammed Shami and Ravi Bishnoi.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (c), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Jagadeesha Suchith, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Murugan Ashwin, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sheldon Cottrell, Hardus Viljoen, Ishan Porel, Sarfaraz Khan, Tajinder Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar, Ravi Bishnoi
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Aaron Finch, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Chris Morris, Dale Steyn, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Isuru Udana, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Adam Zampa, Pavan Deshpande, Mohammed Siraj, Devdutt Padikkal, Josh Philippe, Shahbaz Ahmed
Match 6, Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Venue: Dubai International Stadium
Date: September 24, Wednesday.
Time: 7:30 PM IST.