Can Kochi stop Gayle and Bangalore?
Sunday, May 8, Bangalore
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
Chris Gayle has shown Royal Challengers Bangalore many new ways to celebrate. He has his own special routines with different players. He has also given Bangalore many reasons to celebrate. When he landed in India, Bangalore were well and truly a struggling side. Two match-winning centuries and two other wins later, they are the team to beat.
Bangalore are the team you want to avoid. Especially when you are Kochi Tuskers Kerala, who with 10 points from 10 games, are not too far from a stage where they might need wins in every remaining game. Kochi, though, seem to have found momentum with two successive wins after three straight losses threatened to end their campaign. Bangalore will take some beating, but there is nothing to suggest Kochi cannot be that team to stop the four-match winning streak.
Form guide (most recent first)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: WWWWL (fourth in points table)
Kochi Tuskers Kerala: WWLLL (sixth in points table)
In their last game, Bangalore brought in Asad Pathan ahead of J Syed Mohammad. That place, and Mohammad Kaif's, are the only ones they might fiddle around with.
Michael Klinger and Prasanth Parameswaran have proved to be good inclusions for Kochi, who will not look to shuffle too much.
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In the spotlight
Tillakaratne Dilshan has managed only 136 in eight innings, and this is his last game before he trades red and gold for white, a walk-on part with Bangalore for a leadership role with Sri Lanka. Before he goes, though, Dilshan will want to leave a lasting imprint.
Along with Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene is approaching the end of his involvement with the IPL, although he will stay for longer in India than Dilshan. He will want to make sure Kochi make it to the play-offs.
- In just four innings, Chris Gayle has looted 284 runs, and is already the 12th-highest run-getter this season
- Gayle is also the only man to have scored two IPL centuries. In all Twenty20 cricket, Gayle's three centuries are joint-highest along with his opponent tomorrow, Brendon McCullum, and Ian Harvey
The chatter"The big thing for us was our fielding. If we do that [well], everything falls in place. Aravind has been a really good find for us."
Daniel Vettori points out positives other than Gayle
"The local players are doing well for us and that is a good sign. Prasanth Parameswaran held his nerve in big matches. We all know that Raiphi Gomez has the talent and he has done well. Vinay [Kumar] brings in lots of experience of having played here [in Bangalore]. He can give us insights about the pitch."
Mahela Jayawardene credits the domestic players
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo