Match number 31 of the Indian T20 League takes us back to Sharjah for RCB vs KXIP. Bangalore are flying high after managing to win five out of their first seven matches and on the contrary, Punjab will be scratching their heads to understand how they just have one win in the tournament at the halfway point.
Interestingly, Punjab’s only win came against the opposition they will face in this match and they’d hope to make it two in two against Bangalore and get their tournament run back on course. The head-to-head battle between these two teams is pretty evenly balanced. Punjab have won just one more game than Bangalore in this rivalry whereas RCB has managed to win four out of five in this fixture. Let’s take a look at how this season’s RCB vs KXIP will pan out.
AB de Villiers vs Nicholas Pooran
The battle of the two makeshift wicketkeepers can swing this game either way. Both these players are devastating T20 players and the boundaries at Sharjah will make them look even better.
It was a masterstroke by Bangalore at the start of the tournament when they convinced AB de Villiers to don the gloves for his team. This move has solved the team composition problem for them and now they are looking like a force to reckon with in this tournament. AB showed the way you’re supposed to finish an innings in Bangalore’s previous match.
De Villiers has a good record against KXIP, he has scored 708 runs against them at an average of 50.56, which is his personal best against any team in the tournament.
Nicholas Pooran has shown the world that he’s the future of West Indies cricket. He has been brilliant at striking the ball out of the ground and the size of the ground at Sharjah will favour his style of batting.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
In a batting line-up which has done exceptionally well, Aaron Finch has been the only disappointing one. It seems like he’s running out of time as Moeen Ali is waiting in the ranks to take that spot away from Finch. This could be a deciding match for the Aussie and he should look to capitalise in the powerplay.
It’s official now, Sharjah will witness the Gayle storm for the first time in this tournament. He’ll be playing a T20 match after 274 days. He’s bound to be rusty coming into this match but no then no better place to make a comeback for a batter than Sharjah. If he gets past the spell of Washington Sundar at the start of the innings then expect him to unleash his might on the Bangalore bowlers.
RCB: Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Gurkeerat Singh, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Chris Morris, Isuru Udana, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal
KXIP: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (C), Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Mandeep Singh, Karun Nair, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
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