The final week of the Indian Premier League season begins with one match on Monday afternoon as the Kings XI Punjab host the Royal Challengers Bangalore in a clash where both sides are eyeing up a spot in the top four still.
Kings XI currently occupy third spot in the table with 12 points and this is their game in hand to pull away in the quest to secure a playoff spot. A win here would keep them in the hunt of making the top two as well. Bangalore know they must win their last three and hope and pray other results go their way.
Kings XI Punjab
After a very good start to the season the Kings XI Punjab have now lost their last two matches and could really go with a win here not just to pull away from the sides who have caught them but also for their own peace of mind and confidence. A win here would leave them needing just one win from their last two to guarantee a playoff spot.
For much of the season the concern of the Punjabi side has been in their middle order, purely because they have not seen much action, but suddenly their bowling attack is coming under scrutiny and is beginning to go around the park. It is important that they regain their composure and authority with the ball too.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Having looked as though their season was going to peter out without much of a fight the Royal Challengers Bangalore showed signs of life when they took care of the Delhi Daredevils last time out. In terms of what they beat it might not have been much of a win but it kept them alive and if it has them believing again then that would be important.
Importantly Bangalore are beginning to improve with the ball at the death of their bowling innings. They needed to do that and while there is still a lot of improvement in them the fact they are getting better could be important. If a couple of batsman can bat with KL Rahul it would help them massively as well.
Kings XI Punjab could have an issue over Mujeeb-ul-Rahman who got hit in the hand in the last match and went off and was never seen afterwards. If he is ruled out it could open the door for David Miller to come in and bolster the batting.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will need to decide whether to keep with an unchanged side or whether to bring Quinton de Kock back into their side. Colin de Grandhomme seems a little wasted batting at six or seven without bowling so he could sit out.
We saw in the previous match here why I’m in no rush to bet on the match outcome in this match even allowing for the fact that neither are wholly convincing at the present time. It is a tiny ground which is close to impossible to defend unless you do what Kolkata did and whack two per ball batting first.
Instead I’ll go for the obvious bet which is over 16.5 sixes. This is such a small ground and both these batting line ups have so much power in them that it is hard not to see balls flying out of the ground or clearing the ropes regularly. We’ve had three matches on this ground this season and we’ve seen totals of 22 and 31 in two of them. I’m expecting to see at least 17 more here.
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