After two tough losses, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) bounced back in style by beating Mumbai Indians (MI) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) in two consecutive matches. The team’s batting finally clicked, with Glenn Maxwell contributing in both victories by scoring 56 and 50.
His blistering knocks gave the innings some much-needed impetus and allowed RCB to finish well. The bowlers led by Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal have been fantastic in the UAE leg of the IPL so far. RCB have currently 14 points, and a win over against Punjab Kings (PBKS) will boost their qualification chances.
Meanwhile, their opponents PBKS are coming off from a tight win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). For now, the team would be happy with a win as it has given them a chance to stay in the playoffs contention. PBKS would be hoping to win both their remaining games and raise hopes of a top-four finish. However, they will be concerned about the form of their batters. At the moment, they are only riding on the performances of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.
The head-to-head record is in favor of the KL Rahul-led team as they have won 15 games as opposed to RCB, who have won 12 games.
The match is going to be played at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. So far, it has been a two-faced surface with the odd balls keeping low. So bowlers of both teams would look to exploit the conditions.
Predicted Playing XI
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli (C), Devdutt Padikkal, KS Bharat, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Dan Christian, George Garton, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini.
KL Rahul (C), Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Aiden Markram, Deepak Hooda, Shahrukh Khan, Fabian Allen/Moises Henriques, Nathan Ellis/Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh.
AB de Villiers
It is a very odd sight to see AB de Villiers struggle. However, he has not got enough time in the middle. Everyone is aware of the skills he poses and with RCB in a safe position in terms of playoff qualification, De Villiers will look to play some fearless cricket.
PBKS most underrated player and their most reliable bowler this season, Arshdeep Singh has so far ably shouldered the responsibility and led the bowling attack with aplomb. The left-arm pacer has taken 8 wickets in the UAE so far. Needless to say, PBKS need their strike bowler to strike big against RCB.