Challengers meet wayward Warriors
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Pune Warriors 4 PM
M Chinaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
The red hot Royal Challengers Bangalore will meet Pune Warriors India in their Indian Premier League match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday afternoon.
RCB have brushed off two close losses with a Super Over win of their own against Delhi and a comfortable win against the Rajasthan Royals. Pune on the other hand have had three captains in seven games to go with two wins. Aaron Finch was in a good position to get a third win at Mohali but his bowlers let him down badly, failing to defend a 180+ target.
RCB’s bowlers on the other hand have done a good job of restricting the opposition to 150-160 totals which is 20 below par on the M Chinnaswamy wicket. Vinay Kumar holds the Purple Cap, RP Singh justified his continued inclusion with his 3rd three wicket haul of the tournament against Rajasthan, Unadkat has been the surprise package with his accuracy and Ravi Rampaul has provided a much needed burst of pace.
Kohli will worry about his underperforming spin pair of Kartik Murali and Syed Mohammad. The pacers have regularly provided breakthroughs but the two of them haven’t been successful in removing too many middle order batsmen. Kartik especially as the senior has to chip in not just with runs but also with a tight economy. Pune have in their side Robin Uthappa, a Karnataka player who know the Chinnaswamy very well and could be dangerous if set.
Aaron Finch has carried over his superb form from the Big Bash League but the rest of Pune’s Indian batsmen – Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey, Abhishek Nayar and T Suman have been extremely poor in the tournament. Luke Wright’s 34 runs blasted off just 10b against Punjab might see him and Steve Smith play again and they could cause even more damage on the Chinnaswamy ground.
RCB’s batsmen are on a more solid footing. Chris Gayle played sensible cricket on Saturday and he was well supported by Saurabh Tiwary. Tiwary grafted when necessary and brought out the big hits when it was time and he will want to build on his good show. Tillakaratne Dilshan fell after having done all the ground work, Virat Kohli was done in by a superb yorker and AB de Villiers played a horrible shot to get out against Rajasthan and all three will want to make amends on Tuesday.
They will be unsure of who they face, Pune could replace Ajantha Mendis, allowing them to play skipper Angelo Mathews at Bangalore. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been their most threatening bowler but Dinda’s inconsistency has already cost them a few games. Yuvraj Singh has pulled his weight more with the bowling and he is a bowler RCB would do well to look out against.
The two teams played to an exciting finish last year with AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary getting them past the line. With Pune in the freefall they are, it would be great of them to come out and fight till the very last ball.