Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Rising Pune Supergiants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore | Friday 22 April | Pune | 16:30
The 16th fixture of the 2016 edition of the IPL could have far-reaching consequences for both the Rising Pune Supergiants as well as the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Both sides have only managed a solitary win in their three games to date, and another loss could put either side well out of touch with the leaders heading into the middle part of the tournament.
Can the Supergiants give us a repeat of the performance which saw them smash the Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener or will the Royal Challengers’ impressive top order stamp their mark on the clash?
To Win Match
Rising Pune Supergiants 11/10 | Draw 35/1 | RCB 7/10
Rising Pune Supergiants
Following a fantastic start to life in the IPL, the Rising Pune Supergiants have been brought right back down to earth following defeats at the hands of the Gujarat Lions and the Kings XI Punjab. Despite the two setbacks, the newly-formed Pune franchise still have more than enough quality within their ranks to launch a serious assault on the top four.
It’s only a matter of time before their massively talented squad clicks and they start to climb the table. In an immensely powerful top order, only Faf du Plessis has managed to find any sort of consistency, helping himself to 170 runs in three games including three half-centuries and one 30+ score. One of Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith or Kevin Pietersen will need to start scoring runs on a more consistent basis to ease the pressure on the South African T20 captain is under at the moment.
If two of these four fire, it’ll lay the ideal platform for the likes of MS Dhoni and Mitchell Marsh to come in and spank it about. They will have the ideal to chance to do so against an RCB attack that has lacked any real cutting edge so far this season. They will also be well aware of the fact that if they fail to put on a score exceeding 190+, the Bangalore-based franchise have more than enough top order firepower of their own to chase down massive scores without really breaking a sweat.
I feel that the result of this game will hinge on how well the Supergiants’ attack deal with the likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma will have their hands full in trying cope with the threat of the RCB top four. That said, if they can make early inroads and get stuck into the middle and lower order, they’ll fancy their chances against the pre-tournament favourites.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
While the Royal Challengers Bangalore boast arguably the best top four in the history of limited overs cricket, their powderpuff bowling attack has let them down immensely this season. Shane Watson is the only member of the attack who has consistently delivered good performances with the ball this term and that doesn’t look as though it will change anytime soon.
All of the teams in the competition – no matter how weak their batting line-up – will fancy themselves against a Royal Challengers’ attack that looks as though it could be the weakest in the competition. Varun Aaron, Iqbal Abdullah, Harshal Patel and Kane Richardson simply don’t have what it takes to win this competition for RCB.
All attention, one feels, will be focussed on Chris Gayle – if he’s recalled to the side – Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson at the top of the order. If Ricky Ponting’s men are to claim their first IPL title, they will rely almost entirely on their top four to get them there – whether or not they’ll be able to cope with the pressure remains to be seen.
I for one hope that Chris Gayle comes back into the side after he was given a break in the last match against the Mumbai Indians. He’s struggled for form of late, however, the big Jamaican has a tendency to set this competition alight with some explosive innings. Let’s hope – for the sake of the neutral – that he comes right soon.
Verdict: A hundred to be scored in the match: Yes at 5/1
There’s just far too much top order talent and far too little bowling prowess for this 5/1 shot to be ignored. Kohli, Gayle, du Plessis, Smith, Watson, Pietersen and Rahane are all more than capable of helping themselves to a century on what looks as though it’ll be a decent batting surface. Get on!
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