The teams: Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab (RCB v KXIP). RCB has surged with three consecutive wins, taking them ahead of Delhi into fifth place. RCB’s big three have finally arrived at the same party, and as KKR witnessed firsthand, if Gayle, ABdV and Virat all fire, no total is too big enough. KXIP on the other hand are now mathematically out of contention for a playoff spot, so are just here to try and ruin RCB’s chances. Having just sent Maxwell home with an injury, KXIP may use the opportunity to test their bench strength.
The Venue: M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Bowlers will be running for cover; this track is flat and the small boundaries will mean that the batsmen will be licking their lips. Don’t forget the last game here saw a record-breaking 229 run partnership between ABdV and Kohli and for the first time in IPL history, two batsman made centuries in the same innings.
Our picks for your fantasy teams
Hashim Amla: After 2 poor games, Amla may not have been sure of selection for his third IPL game. However, he validated his selection with a brilliant 96 off just 56 balls. His 170+ strike rate silenced any critics who say he wasn’t built for the IPL, and showed just why he is one of the best batsmen in the world today across all three formats. KXIP will need him to fire at the top.
AB de Villiers: 360 degrees. Need we say anything more? ABdV started the IPL 2016 slowly, which likely contributed to RCB’s failures, but he has since burst into life. He made a stunning 59* against KKR on Monday to add to his breathtaking 129* off 52 balls last Saturday against GL. In the last two games, ABdV has showcased his entire repertoire of strokes and reminded us why he is the world’s #1 ranked ODI batsman. Though Sandeep, Mohit and co. have been tidy, KXIP will need to keep ABdV quiet to have any chance of winning.
Iqbal Abdulla: Abdulla has been in and out of the RCB side, with Kohli following a horses for course policy to suit the pitch and opposition. His magnificent spell of 1-22 off 4 overs against KKR, along with 2 catches and a run-out, should make a good case for his selection against KXIP. Abdulla bowled at an economy rate of 5.5 against KKR, while the remaining bowlers combined gave over 10 runs/over.
Which team will win? Total Voters: 27
Which team will win?
Total Voters: 27
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(Original cover artwork by Ishita Mohanty. She tweets here.)