The Kings XI Punjab and the Royal Challengers Bangalore square off at the Holkar Stadium in Monday's only IPL fixture.The eighth match of the 2017 IPL season will see an undercooked Royal Challengers Bangalore outfit go up against a supremely confident Kings XI Punjab side.
Will Chris Gayle be able to inspire the giants from Bengaluru to a win or will the men from Mohali claim the points in Monday’s match? Let’s take a look:
KXI vs RCB | Monday 10 April 2017 | Holkar Stadium, Indore | 16:30
To Win Match
Kings XI 29/20 | Tie 35/1 | Royal Challengers 57/100
Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI probably pulled off the result of the weekend when they comprehensively defeated the Rising Pune Supergiant by six wickets. The groundwork for that victory was laid by the likes of Axar Patel and Sandeep Sharma with the ball.
They managed to keep the Supergiant quiet while taking wickets at regular intervals. Had it not been for Ben Stokes (50) and Manoj Tiwary (40), the Kings XI probably could have sauntered home more comfortably.
While their victory would have given them confidence, I’d like to see the Kings XI stick to a more orthodox plan for this match. Pushing Patel up the order ahead of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller didn’t make sense to me.
You need your best batsmen to occupy the crease as long as possible. This will need to be the case against the Royal Challengers. Even without Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, they can still call on the likes of Chris Gayle and Shane Watson who are both more than capable of winning matches on their own with the bat.
Looking ahead, there has been talk of Eoin Morgan coming into the side for Hashim Amla. Such a move would force a shuffle in the batting order. I’d avoid that right now, to be honest. The side looked good at the weekend against ‘superior’ opposition with Hash doing a solid job at the top of the order with his 27-ball 28.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
All eyes will be on Chris Gayle heading into this match. The big Jamaican just needs 25 more runs before becoming the first player in history to reach 10 000 T20 runs. It’ll be quite the incredible achievement if he is able to reach the milestone, especially when you consider that Brendon McCullum sits second on the list on 7411 runs having played 19 games fewer.
Unfortunately for the Royal Challengers, Gayle reaching the milestone means nothing if they don’t pick up their second win of the season. One could argue that they were lucky to win their clash against the Delhi Daredevils over the weekend.
Kedar Jadhav had to bail his side out after everyone else in the side – with the exception of Shane Watson – failed with the bat. His 37-ball 69 is exactly what Daniel Vettori would have been looking for in the absence of Kohli and de Villiers.
Bowling wise, I still think that last year’s losing finalists are a long way short. Spending so much money on Tymal Mills in the auction was naïve to say the least. While Billy Stanlake and Yuzvendra Chahal did well against the Daredevils, I doubt they’ll find much joy against a loaded Kings XI side.
This will put massive pressure on Watson to keep things tight with the ball. The unnecessary bowling pressure could well have an adverse effect on his batting – if this is the case, the Royal Challengers could well slip to another defeat.
Verdict: Kings XI Punjab 29/20
I really like the look of this Kings XI side. That middle order is something else and I suspect they’ll continue to beat the big sides up until Amla, Morgan and Miller leave mid-way through the season. Get on the Mohali franchise at an incredible price of 29/20.