Kings XI v Royal Challengers, IPL 2014, Dubai April 27, 2014

Royal Challengers look for the up elevator


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Agarkar: Bowling clicking a good sign for Kings XI

Match facts

April 28, 2014
Start time 1830 local (1430 GMT, 2000 IST)

Big Picture

A team wanting to make it to the knockout stage of the IPL can only afford a few horror matches in the season. Royal Challengers Bangalore have already had a couple of them, one after the other, early in their season. A campaign that started with encouraging wins now needs to shake off the bad inertia. It can only be a good thing that they face Kings XI Punjab, the strongest team on current form, next; win this and get the anaesthetic you need to numb the wounds from last two losses.

It doesn't sound easy and it's going to be even more difficult in reality. After two good wins, question marks have now been pasted all over on Royal Challengers' batsmen. It now seems that only the inclusion of Chris Gayle can perk the team up. However, there is still no conclusive news on his fitness. Irrespective of Gayle's availability, the rest of the batsmen, especially the middle order, will need to shrug off the uncertainty that has set in. Royal Challengers' bowling is better placed at the moment and they are likely to bring back the impressive Varun Aaron after resting him from the previous game.

Kings XI would have been extremely satisfied with their win against Kolkata Knight Riders. First time in the tournament, their batting came under pressure with the early exits of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, but their bowlers responded with sustained intensity. Mitchell Johnson has said that he is slowly finding his best after missing out on cricket for a month due to a toe infection and that gives the attack a well-rounded look. Johnson fires it quick, Sandeep Sharma likes to nip it around, L Balaji loves bowling those legcutters and Akshar Patel's left-arm spin is gaining traction.

Watch out for

One thing is for sure that the moment Yuvraj Singh steps out, George Bailey is going to unleash Mitchell Johnson on him. Rewind to October 2013 to trace the beginnings of Yuvraj's slide. Johnson served up a 150-plus short ball to send Yuvraj back for 7 in an ODI in Pune. Another short ball in Mohali and Yuvraj edged it to fall for a first-ball duck. In Nagpur, Yuvraj expected the short ball, but left a mighty gap between the pad and the bat to be bowled for a two-ball duck. Life hasn't smiled at Yuvraj since then (except on the IPL auction day) and Johnson is no happy news.

AB de Villiers did score an unbeaten 45 in Royal Challengers' second win but his last two outings are a cause for concern for his team. Against Knight Riders, he, along with Yuvraj, let the game drift away to the last over before being dismissed, albeit to an exceptional catch by Chris Lynn. Against Rajasthan Royals, he walked in early in the third over in a scenario that should have allowed him enough time to build. Instead, he fell for a duck playing a loose shot to an innocuous delivery. His patchy form seems to have extended from the World T20 where he managed a single half-century. With their campaign floundering a bit, Royal Challengers need the cushion of the old de Villiers.

Stats and trivia

  • The batsmen from Kings XI and Royal Challengers, along with Delhi Daredevils, have hit the most centuries - five each. The last of them was a 38-ball 101 by David Miller, against Royal Challengers
  • Virender Sehwag's 37 in the match against Knight Riders was his highest score from his last 13 IPL innings

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on April 28, 2014, 15:34 GMT

    The best batsmen across all formats are Virat & AB. Test rankings change slowly, but Virat reached the top 10, which AB comfortably leads. They swap the top ODI ranking regularly, just points apart. Virat is 2 in T20I rankings, but AB is nowhere at 37. Gambhir is ranked higher!

    Is AB just no good at t20? In T20Is he faces on ave 14.8 balls per inngs, not out in 16%. His averages: 17.4 at 3; 27.8 at 4; 14.71 at 5; 20 at 6. Half his innings he batted 4th, & there averaged highest, failed least & scored consistently. Why? Almost all were in successive matches. Settled, in rhythm, he could visualize his game & BUILD an inngs - just as Virat does, always batting at 3! Down the order, or moved every match, AB's performance drops. He loses focus. He needs rhythm.

    Virat & AB - the worlds best. Batting together, building partnerships of understanding & trust, they would be simply fearsome. They are BATSMEN, not sloggers, and they ARE the best. Its common sense - let them bat together!

  • Kashi on April 28, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    Bangalore 2 down forvery few and Gayle hardly made any dent. Go Punjab Go - Good Luck from a True and Original Bangalorean!

  • Android on April 28, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    gayle vs maxwell.. hoping for a high scoring game.. bored with low scoring games for past 5-6 matches

  • Kashi on April 28, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    Gayle will get out for less than 10 and Yuvi will eat up overs to make 10. Go Punjab Go , win your 5th game. All the best from true and original Bangalorean!

  • Android on April 28, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    Itz Gaylestorm vs MillionDollorBaby

  • Dummy4 on April 28, 2014, 14:12 GMT

    Without Gayle RCB looks mediocre side and Yuvraj needs to pep up his game or else his international career is far over,he will join the league of sehwags,gambhirs,pathans etc...wake up yuvraj before its all over!

  • Kashi on April 28, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    @James Sebastain Bangalore does not have a flat track, unlike Mumbai , Kanpur etc. However RCB (the non Bangalore team calling themselves Bangalore) deserve to lose all the matches in Bangalore as they are not representing Bangalore with zero local players.

  • ESPN on April 28, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    Big man Chris gayle back today RCB lose the toss and going to bat first and varun Aaron instead or sachin Rana

  • Kashi on April 28, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    @Kevorka This is not cribbing, but simple sports logic.

    Either IPL has a sports and competitive purpose or does NOT.

    If it does have a sports purpose then it has to be played fairly and fair selection is important. So when a team calls itself Bangalore, I expect some (if not predominant) representation from Bangalore (or Karnataka). Incidentally Karnataka won most of domestic tournaments this year and certainly the competition was lot tougher than what we see in IPL. If not there was no need for teams to be named Bangalore, Punjab, Chennai etc. The teams could have simply called Team A, Team B etc. Or Red Team, Blue Team or whatever.

    If on the other hand it does NOT have Sports or competitive purpose and it is purely for business (making money) and using entertainment for that purpose then I am fine with though expect a disclaimer to be in place just like various TV reality shows have it.

  • Dummy4 on April 28, 2014, 13:55 GMT

    today kingx11 will be win i hope today

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