We are back to the one match in the Indian Premier League on Friday and it comes from Ahmedabad where the Punjab Kings take on one of the sides setting the early pace in the league in the form of the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Consistency has been an issue for the Punjab Kings so far this term and they will hope to begin to find some here. It has been a very fluent campaign for the Royal Challengers to date, something they hope continues here.
I’m not at the stage where I’m going to be massively critical of the Punjab Kings just yet but they are beginning to annoy me. In these franchise events the one thing I can’t be having is players being picked on reputation and they are doing that at the minute. It would be fair enough if they didn’t have sufficient back up but three times in their six matches they have been restricted to less than 125 yet they keep picking out of form batsmen when Dawid Malan, until recently the number one ranked batsman in the international format of this game, is waiting in the wings.
I guess to be fair to them they will argue that in the other three matches they have piled on the runs and that is probably the frustration but if they want to find some consistency with the bat then Malan might be the safer option. The other big problem they have, and one which seems to have been a thing for far too long now, is their bowling and at the death specifically. They just concede far too many runs and that isn’t good when their batting isn’t going great guns.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
With five wins from six matches to open up their campaign there isn’t a lot going wrong for the Royal Challengers Bangalore so far this term. Already themselves, Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals have pulled away from fifth place and it might be that we see a three way battle for the lofty positions in the table as we head into the second half of the season but the most important thing is making the top four and earning a tilt at glory in the knockout stage of the campaign.
The strength of the Royal Challengers so far this season has been their batting. Only once in six matches have they really failed and that came after an onslaught from Ravi Jadeja probably took a match away from them. When you consider they started their campaign in Chennai that is massive kudos to their batsmen. They haven’t been absolutely fantastic with the ball and can concede a few too many at the end of the innings still but in the main they are doing enough in that discipline.
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Chris Gayle hasn’t really lit this tournament up yet but if the Punjab Kings are going to win this they need either he or Nicholas Pooran, if the latter keeps getting selected, to come good. Gayle is against his former employers here so will have that motivation to deliver. He still has the power to take a game away from anyone.
AB de Villiers certainly has been delivering for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and he will be licking his lips at the thought of coming up against this Punjab Kings attack at the end of the innings. He could take a good score and turn it into an amazing one in no time at all.
The Punjab Kings batting hasn’t been one to rely on this season but they have lots of options when the penny drops that something needs to change and even if they don’t make changes here they might well go well in that department in this match because there isn’t really and hidden mystery in this Bangalore attack, one which is going along alright but Harshal Patel aside you wouldn’t say it is really standing out in any way.
That is likely to mean most Bangalore matches are high scoring and we’ve seen that as something of a trend in the competition so far. 180 has been scored in three of the last four Bangalore matches by one of the two sides and although neither team managed that mark in their last match, both did score 170 so there are signs we might get a high scoring game here, particularly when you add the two attacks into the mix. I like over 326.5 runs here.
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