Punjab’s batsmen, especially Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, have been in murderous form
Left in disarray after consecutive losses, Royal Challengers Bangalore faces the arduous task of taming the yet-to-be-beaten table-topper Kings XI Punjab when the two sides clash in an IPL match here on Monday.
The contrast in their fortunes could not have been deeper going into the match given that Punjab is yet to taste defeat while Bangalore has lost two matches on the trot.
RCB, sans West Indian marauder Chris Gayle who is nursing a sore back, was completely outplayed in its match against Rajasthan Royals.
Its star-studded batting line-up collapsed to the third lowest IPL total ever before Rajasthan made short work of the paltry 71-run target in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Except for skipper Virat Kohli, none of the RCB batsmen could make any noteworthy contribution. Yuvraj Singh has been getting decent knocks but the pace of his scoring remains a concern.
Saturday’s loss was a crushing one and Kohli wants to forget it as quickly as possible but it would be quite a task for his team to turn it around against Punjab, by far the most consistent team so far.
Barring Saturday night’s game against Kolkata Knight Riders, which was won by the bowlers, Punjab’s batsmen, especially Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, have been in murderous form.
It would require a very special effort to stop them, something that KKR’s spin combo of Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla managed to do before KXIP produced some magic of its own with the ball through the pace pair of Sandeep Sharma and Mitchell Johnson.
A big positive for KXIP is senior opener Virender Sehwag’s return to some form. The veteran, who has fallen out of national reckoning, is slowly getting back into the groove with some decent contributions in the past couple of matches.
But Cheteshwar Pujara is still finding his feet in the format even though his individual form has not yet hurt the team much.
It would be a massive boost for Bangalore if Gayle makes it back to the squad after recovering from his back problem, but his availability is still not confirmed.
Also, more would be expected from South African swashbuckler A.B. de Villiers, who is yet to produce an eye-catching performance so far in the tournament.