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After clinching a narrow 1 run victory over the Kings XI Punjab at Mohali, Kohli and his boys will try to put in a better show when they take on Murali Vijay's men at home today. The Royal Challengers Bangalore have won their last two encounters in dominating fashion in response to being pushed to the wall. Kings XI Punjab on the other hand regrouped too late and have been knocked out of the tournament. They know they are better and will be playing for pride.
Chris Gayle's knock was exactly what the doctor ordered for the men in Red and Black while Glenn Maxwell has withdrawn himself from the ongoing IPL due to an injury. Let's have a look at both the squads ahead of this must win game for the Royal Challengers!
From the RCB dugout
Opener Chris Gayle scored a breezy 49 from 31 balls in the previous match and triggered an alarm for all the opposition bowlers. If he fires again, Punjab's bowling attack won't be able to do much. His opening partner and skipper Virat Kohli is in the form of his life. With 752 runs to his name this season, Kohli looks good to carry his splendid form against Punjab if his hand has healed well enough.
AB de Villiers has also heaped misery on the bowlers in the previous two games. If these three are able to bat for most of the innings, it will be advantage RCB! The middle order has not got to bat at all in the previous two games and the likes of KL Rahul, Shane Watson, Sachin Baby and Stuart Binny will want to make it count if they get an opportunity to bat against KXIP.
Yuzvendra Chahal leaked a few runs in the last game but has been particularly impressive at the Chinnaswamy. He has gripped and turned the ball a long way and has often confused the batsmen with his googly. Iqbal Abdulla was the standout bowler against KKR and will most likely retain his place considering the long list of right handers in Punjab's batting lineup.
Sreenath Aravind picked up two wickets but was a little expensive in the previous game. He has been a potent force with the new ball and often gets the job done without being noticed. Chris Jordan has also found his rhythm after bagging those four wickets against GL. He is also getting those deadly yorkers right making his skills at the slog overs very crucial.
From the KXIP dugout
Openers Hashim Amla and Murali Vijay have both been in touch in the last few games. These two Test specialists have shown their calibre in the shortest format and can be extremely dangerous on their day. The Indian batsmen Wriddhiman Saha, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Manan Vohra have all got decent starts but haven't been able to convert them into big ones.
In the absence of Glenn Maxwell, Punjab might include an Indian batsman, that could most likely be Manan Vohra and draft Mitchell Johnson to strengthen their bowling attack or they could just go the conventional way and pick Farhaan Behardien. David Miller and Marcus Stoinis will have do the bulk of the scoring in the middle order. This could be one area that RCB would look to exploit. Axar Patel adds value to the lower middle order with his powerful hitting skills.
Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma were a little disappointing in the last game but have bowled impressively for most parts of the season. Anureet Singh was also a little expensive and could be replaced by a spinner. If they plan to bring back Johnson, his battle against captain Kohli will be interesting to watch!
Overall, RCB will again hope for their top 3 to capitalize on a much smaller Chinnaswamy and fetch them this much required win.
Our Bold trump card
The Universe Boss finally let his bat do the talking in the last match and returned to form. He has promised his fans at the Chinnaswamy to wait for something special. If he lives by his word and bats for most parts of RCB's innings, KXIP bowlers will barely stand a chance and we will be in to witness what they call the 'Gaylestorm.'
The stage looks set and the Royal Challengers will hope for the southpaw to destroy the opposition attack! CG's big hitting abilities can single handedly win the game for his sides. This makes the Universe Boss our Bold trump card to watch out for!