With Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers already out of the contention, and with Mumbai Indians already qualified for the playoffs, the battle for the other three spots in the top four is now limited to five teams. And Kings XI Punjab are one of them!
In the quest for the playoff stage, tonight, Glenn Maxwell’s side will face the last boys of the IPL 2017. Royal Challengers Bangalore have had a disastrous season so far, losing 8 of the 11 games they played. Nothing clicked for the star-studded team and they were the first team to be out of the title race. The rest of this season is going to be entirely about the lost pride for Virat Kohli and co.
Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, gathered 8 points from 9 matches. They are at the fifth spot at the moment, behind Sunrisers Hyderabad who have 13 points from 11 games. Naturally, a win is very important for Punjab.
Thanks to an inspiring spell (4-0-20-4) from Sandeep Sharma, Kings XI thrashed Delhi Daredevils in their last game, which was played 5 days ago. Delhi were bundled out within a paltry 67. Then, the opening pair of Hashim Amla and Martin Guptill reached the target within 8 overs only.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, on the other hand, have not won in any of their last 5 games. During the last outing, Mumbai Indians successfully chased a target of 163 against Bangalore.
This game will be played at Chinnaswamy Stadium of Bengaluru and will start at 8pm on Friday. This ground has seen relatively low-scoring matches this season, and it might be challenging for the hard-hitters of both the teams one more time. The onus will surely be on the strike bowlers to deliver their best.
The home side should bring back Chris Gayle who has always performed brilliantly against Kings XI Punjab. Travis Head has been poor and he should be the one to make way. Other than that, the team management will have to make a decision about which bowler to include – Adam Milne, Tymal Mills or Samuel Badree. So far as we think, the West Indian should be the one to be picked.
Punjab, on the other hand, will continue to rely heavily on their overseas batsmen. Eoin Morgan, however, will miss the rest of the season for international duties. The visitors are expected to go with an unchanged eleven.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli (C), AB De Villiers, Kedar Jadhav (WK), Shane Watson, Mandeep Singh, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Samuel Badree, Sreenath Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Kings XI Punjab: Hashim Amla, Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, Manan Vohra, Glenn Maxwell (C), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan.
Do you think Kings XI will make it to top four? Comment below!