|The Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kings XI Punjab go head to head in IPL action on Wednesday 18 May.|
The Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kings XI Punjab are set to battle it out in a crucial IPL tie on Wednesday afternoon. The Bangalore franchise can move from fifth to first with a win while the Kings XI are out of the running for a play-off place owing to their poor start to the season.
Will AB de Villiers and continue their recent run of good form or will the Kings XI dash RCB’s hopes of making it into the play-offs? Let’s take a look!
To Win Match
Royal Challengers 5/10 | Tie 35/1 | Kings XI Punjab 31/20
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Following a rather tame start to the season which saw them languishing toward the lower end of the IPL standings, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have sprung to life in incredible fashion of late. Their top order – and in particular Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers – has been in sublime form.
It all kicked off on Saturday when de Villiers and Kohli each helped themselves to centuries as the Royal Challengers set the Gujarat Lions 249 for victory. Needless to say, the beleaguered Gujarat franchise fell well short of the total, eventually losing by 144-runs. That victory was followed up by yet another massive win over the Kolkata Knight Riders in which Chris Gayle (49), de Villiers (59*) and Kohli (75*) made short work of the 183-run target.
All eyes will be on the Royal Challengers’ top three batsmen come Wednesday. They’ve accounted for 427 runs in the last two games and look set to rip into a Kings XI attack that hasn’t really set the world alight. Kohli and de Villiers are now the tournament’s two leading run scorers with the former having amassed 752 runs at an average of 83.55 while his South African teammate has managed 597 at just under 60.00.
While we were all aware of the fact that RCB’s top order is more than capable of blowing away any T20 team in world cricket, their lack of world-class options in the bowling department threatens to derail their entire season. To put it into perspective, the Royal Challengers have played 12 games in which they’ve managed to score 170+ in 11 of those matches. They’ve won six and lost six thus far, which points to the fact that while their batsmen have stepped up to the plate for the most part, their bowling attack has been far from convincing.
Looking ahead, I’m not sure whether or not there will be any changes to the squad. Chris Jordan has showed a marked improvement from his early-season performances while the likes of Shane Watson, Stuart Binny and Sreenath Aravind have also been solid. It’ll be interesting to see how well they do against a Kings XI side with nothing to lose.
Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI have improved over the last few weeks, however, their atrocious start to the season has hamstrung them somewhat. Their big names haven’t performed consistently enough with guys like David Miller, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell all struggling to punt in the sort of performances that earned them such big money contracts in the first place.
Hashim Amla and Murali Vijay look solid at the top of the order, with either one of them usually making a worthwhile score. One thing is for sure though, they’ll both need to fire in a big way if the Kings XI are to stand any chance of upsetting the odds in Bangalore on Wednesday.
If there has been an area of the game where coach Sanjay Bangar can draw a few positives from, it’s been the bowling. Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Axar Patel have all performed admirably this season but will have to kick it up a notch if they want to keep RCB’s explosive top order quiet. Patel will likely be key, the slow left-arm orthodox bowler can keep the scoring down and build pressure from one end, the quicks may able to capitalise on false shots by the opposition batsmen.
All in all, the Kings XI have an absolute mountain to climb if they’re going to claim victory here. They’re coming up against the form team in the competition at the moment in front of their partisan support.
Verdict: Royal Challengers at 5/10
You simply can’t ignore the form that the Royal Challengers Bangalore come into this game with. One suspects that if Gayle, Watson, Kohli and de Villiers fire at the top of the order, the Kings XI have very little chance of claiming victory here. Play it safe and take the Royal Challengers at 5/10.
Value Bet: A hundred to be scored in the match: Yes at 3/1
There are going to be some quality batsmen on display during this game. Hashim Amla and Murali Vijay are both more than capable of batting through the innings for the Kings Xi and I don’t really need to harp on any more about the likes of Kohli, de Villiers and Gayle. Don’t stake your house on it, but there’s definite value here at 3/1.