Bangalore eye revenge against Punjab
A question mark hanging over their play-off chances, Royal Challengers Bangalore return to the comfort of home when they clash with Kings XI Punjab in a crucial Pepsi IPL match in Bangalore on Tuesday.
Four defeats in their last six matches have landed them in a situation where they must win their penultimate contest, otherwise not only will they have to win their last match but also pray that some other results go their way.
Bangalore have played their last six matches away from home and returning to the familiar conditions, where they have not lost a single match, will be a comforting factor.
The last time they played at the Chinnaswamy stadium was April 23, when they trounced Pune Warriors by 130 runs. After that they have travelled to six different venues and managed just two wins.
The recent five-wicket defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in Ranchi, on a very slow pitch, hurt them badly, as it gave Sunrisers Hyderabad a chance to snatch fourth position from them.
In their last meeting David Miller bludgeoned his way to a sensational 38-ball 101 as Kings XI Punjab pulled off a dramatic six-wicket win over Royal Challengers in Mohali.
Image: RCB players celebrate
RCB hoping Gayle will explode with the bat
Bangalore will like to return the compliment when they host Punjab. They will find themselves in a hole if they don't win on Tuesday as the visitors are also fancying an outside chance by winning their remaining three matches to get to 16 points.
With 16 points, and currently in fourth spot, RCB have to win their remaining two games to make it to the play-offs as Sunrisers Hyderabad (16 points) and KKR (12) also stand a chance of qualifying, provided they win their remaining games.
RCB captain Virat Kohli will be hoping Chris Gayle explodes with the bat in the game as the West Indian has been quiet in last few matches.
The Chinnaswamy is a happy hunting ground for Gayle, as he has scored 427 runs, out of the 603 scored this season, at the venue.
Image: Chris Gayle
All RCB players need to contribute
Kohli is also a vital cog in the RCB batting line-up as he has to ability to shift gears according to the situation. The flamboyant cricketer has scored 521 runs, with 99 his highest individual score this season.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who has worked on his attacking instincts and added aerial shots to his repertoire, has the role of a sheet-anchor in the side, while AB de Villiers is a tremendous finisher of the game. He has invented a few amazing shots, very useful in this format of the game.
Thus, in sum, RCB need all their players to contribute.
On the bowling front, Ravi Rampaul, Murali Kartik and Vinay Kumar have done well for RCB but profligates Jaydev Unadkat and Abhimanyu Mithun are a matter of concern.
Image: RCB players celebrate
Can Miller repeat his swashbuckling performance?
A good thing for Bangalore is that they are up against a side inconsistent in batting.
Adam Gilchrist, one of the most feared batsmen of his generation, has been a disappointment this year, scoring a dismal 162 in ten matches.
After dropping himself due to poor form, the Australian left-hander played some useful innings against Rajasthan and Hyderabad in last two encounters.
The batting, which comprises players like David Hussey, Shaun Marsh and Mandeep Singh, has failed to click as a unit, and barring couple of individual performances, has let down the team on most occasions.
Gilchrist would expect Miller to repeat the swashbuckling performance he put up against RCB at Mohali. He had launched a blitzkrieg to dwarf the visitors with a match-winning, unbeaten 101.
However, Punjab's strength is their bowling, led by medium pacer Praveen Kumar, that also includes medium pacers Parvinder Awana, Manpreet Gony, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and recent inclusion Bipul Sharma.
Image: David Miller