Royal Challengers Bangalore have struggled in almost every match this year and they will be up against an inconsistent Rising Pune Supergiant in the next game.
Pune are now at the fourth spot in the league table (8 points from 8 games) while Royal Challengers are languishing at the seventh, with only 5 points from 9 games. The visitors desperately need a win in this encounter, or they might lose all their hope to make it to the playoff stages. Steve Smith and co will also look forward to claim a victory and to consolidate their position in the points table. All in all, the fans can expect an enthralling encounter today.
Rising Pune Supergiant lost their last match against table toppers Kolkata Knight Riders, thanks to some inspiring batting display from the top order of Kolkata. They, however, stopped the winning streak of Mumbai Indians in the previous game. Ben Stokes bowled superbly against Mumbai to hand his team the much required win. He, however, missed the last game against Kolkata and Pune will miss him once again today.
On the other side of the spectrum, Royal Challengers have been miserable in the last few games. At first, they got bundled out for 49 against Kolkata and recorded lowest total ever in the IPL history. Then, they managed a point against Sunrisers Hyderabad when the match was called off due to heavy downpour. And, in the last game, it was Gujarat Lions who got the better of them in fashion. It goes without saying that Virat Kohli and his men need to pull off their best today to get back to winning ways and to do justice to their names.
Stokes is likely to miss the next couple of games and Faf Du Plessis should retain his place in the starting eleven. Pune also suffered due to the inexperienced fast bowling attack they have at their disposal, but as it seems, they will need to continue with Jaidev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur only. Under these circumstances, huge burden will be on Imran Tahir’s shoulder so far as the bowling is concerned.
On the other hand, Royal Challengers should take a bold move and drop Chris Gayle once again. The West Indian has performed miserably and disastrous starts from the opening pair have cost the team dearly in the last few games. It might be a better option to open with Travis Head or Mandeep Singh and play Tymal Mills and Samuel Badree to strengthen the bowling department. Stuart Binny may also make a comeback in place of youngster Aniket Choudhury.
Rising Pune Supergiant: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith (C), Faf Du Plessis, MS Dhoni (WK), Manoj Tiwary, Dan Christian, Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, Imran Tahir, Jaidev Unadkat.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (C), Travis Head, AB De Villiers, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Samuel Badree, Sreenath Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal.
This game will be played at Pune’s home ground and the performance of the home side here has been decent. They won two from the four games played here so far. In general, the ground has been favourable to teams batting second. But, this clash will start at 4pm local time and so, it might not affect the toss decision that much.
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