Revived Bangalore aim for consistency
Friday , April 20, Mohali
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
The teams came have had contrasting fortunes in their respective previous games, and Royal Challengers Bangalore, among the most closely-followed teams this competition, have got the win they needed to revive their campaign.
Not only did Chris Gayle deliver in typical Gayle fashion, smashing five consecutive sixes to give his team a strong chance in a big chase apart from a breaking a spectator's nose in the process, Bangalore broke a run of three straight defeats to clinch a thrilling victory that included a six off the final ball. Saurabh Tiwary finally did something to justify his $1.6 million buy, hitting the winning runs while playing an important cameo and AB de Villiers was masterful, disdainfully reverse-sweeping and scooping fast bowlers for sixes.
Kings XI Punjab's previous experience was far less dramatic, in fact it was dispiriting, as they were beaten comprehensively by Kolkata Knight Riders. It broke the momentum set by two straight wins, leaving the team seeking a recovery again. They'll be without their captain Adam Gilchrist for the game; he's recovering from a slight hamstring tear.
Players to watch
It'll be interesting to see if Muttiah Muralitharan is left out of the playing XI again, as he was against Pune Warriors. The man who replaced him was Tillakaratne Dilshan, who managed just 4. He is part of what is potentially the most destructive opening duo this IPL, and will be expected to play his role in this campaign even though he may not be a regular in the side throughout if the choice is between him and Murali.
David Hussey has had a quiet IPL season so far, with scores of 13, 18, 32 and 10. He's had starts in each of the four innings he's played, only one of those has had a significant impact in the outcome. He's expected to lead Kings XI without Gilchrist playing. Azhar Mahmood has had his visa issues resolved and is a good all-round option to consider for Kings XI in the absence of their regular captain.
The teams played each other twice last season, and won a game each. Each victory was by a big margin. In Bangalore, the Royal Challengers, led by Gayle's blistering ton, amassed 205 and defended it with ease. In Dharamsala, it was Adam Gilchrist's turn to make a hundred and Kings XI won by 111 runs.
Stats and trivia
- Gayle overtook Gilchrist to become the batsman with the most sixes across the five IPL seasons. He now leads the tally with 85, one ahead of Gilchrist. Gayle's done it in less than half the matches - 32 against 65.
- Royal Challengers have conceded 616 extras in the five seasons of the IPL, second only to Mumbai Indians' 642. Kings XI are third on the list with 584. Among the teams to have played all five seasons, Rajasthan Royals have conceded the least - 503.
"I am sure we are learning from our frustrations and mistakes previously made and that's all part of the journey of cricket."
Adam Gilchrist gets philosophical about Kings XI's progress thus far.
Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.