The Indian Premier League heads to Bangalore for the first time this season on Friday when the Royal Challengers Bangalore host the Kings XI Punjab in a match which you get the feeling is a really big one for the home side.
Last season did not go to plan for the Royal Challengers and if they lose here they could be opening up a bit of a rut whereas a win for the Kings XI could see them on two wins from two and they would be looking up and looking ahead at what is to come.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The first game of the tournament for the Royal Challengers Bangalore was in keeping with their franchise history in many ways. It doesn’t seem to matter who has been leading them or when they have done it, they just can’t find a combination which allows this side to defend a total. As it was Kolkata Knight Riders chased down a score with a fair bit in hand.
There has never been an issue with the batting line up for the Challengers but if their bowling attack continues to fail to defend above par totals then there could easily be a problem there as they will need to go more gung ho to put bigger scores on the board which involve taking risks and that is never a nice position to be in.
Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI Punjab came out on top in a great match against the Delhi Daredevils in their opening encounter in the competition and they will be looking to build on that here. It was almost the complete performance from them in that first match and while it was not totally perfect they will have been more than happy with it.
The eye catching part of their win was how well their spinners bowled. You would expect that when someone like R Ashwin has taken over as captain but you never truly know it will be the case until you see it in action. What impressed me was the way they went after the run chase. They came out very hard and the match was over in the space of three overs.
It would appear that Quinton de Kock is going to keep his place in the side despite failing in Kolkata. That would leave just the one spot for an overseas seamer for Royal Challengers Bangalore which could be Tim Southee rather than Chris Woakes.
Kings XI Punjab will have Aaron Finch as part of their unit for this match. He is expected to slot in alongside KL Rahul at the top of the order with one of David Miller or Marcus Stoinis making way. Chris Gayle faces another match on the sidelines.
I will be interested to see how this one plays out. I say that because last year the wicket here was low and slow and full of turn which doesn’t really suit what the Royal Challengers Bangalore want or indeed what the greatness of this ground at the M Chinnaswamy is all about. Hopefully the deck is a lot better but I’ll want to see it before I believe it.
However the pitch plays I fancy the Kings XI Punjab are overpriced here. It is a very risky strategy betting on the match outcome on this ground but if it is one of those turning tracks then Kings XI won’t need to be bowling first with their quality spin options and to be honest regardless of the wicket I wouldn’t be backing Bangalore to defend anything. Obviously if the wicket is good the sixes and runs will flow but until we’ve had a chance to assess it I’ll side with the visitors.
Back Kings XI Punjab to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore for a 4/10 stake at 2.38 with Ladbrokes