Another Kohli-Smith face-off
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rising Pune Supergiant
Bengaluru, April 16, 2017
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
Head to head
Overall: The two teams have faced off only twice, in IPL 2016, with RCB winning both times.
The last time they played in Bengaluru, Virat Kohli's unbeaten 108 helped the home side chase down the 192 target with three balls to spare.
In the news
Before the match against Mumbai Indians, Kohli had said Chris Gayle was "a top contender to start in every game" but with the Chinnaswamy surface being drier than usual, combined with the West Indian's poor form, it remains to be seen whether RCB will tweak their batting. Shane Watson, who captained RCB in the first three matches, will probably remain sidelined for extended periods through the tournament.
Steven Smith's return to the Rising Pune XI helped their batting, even though they had to leave out Faf du Plessis. With Lockie Ferguson going at an economy rate of 11 against Gujarat Lions, Pune may choose Adam Zampa's legspin over Ferguson's pace on a Bengaluru pitch that had much for spinners to exploit. They will be forced to think about how many legspinners they would want to play though.
The likely XIs
Royal Challengers Bangalore 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Virat Kohli (capt), 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 5 Pawan Negi, 6 Mandeep Singh, 7 Stuart Binny, 8 Tymal Mills, 9 S Aravind, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Samuel Badree
Rising Pune Supergiant 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Steven Smith (capt) 4 Manoj Tiwary, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Ankit Sharma, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Lockie Ferguson/Adam Zampa, 10 Rahul Chahar, 11 Imran Tahir
Stats that matter
- Gayle has outstanding numbers against the frontline Rising Pune legspinners - he has scored 51 off 30 deliveries against Imran Tahir and 44 off 16 balls against Zampa, in the CPL and the Big Bash League.
- The only Rising Pune bowler to dismiss Kohli is Ashok Dinda, who was dropped in the last game. Against Tahir and Zampa, Kohli has scored 75 runs off 42 balls.
- Rajat Bhatia has been Rising Pune's second-best bowler so far this season (economy rate of 7.85), but Bengaluru is easily his least favourite venue as far as the numbers go: in 14 overs in the IPL, he has figures of 0 for 145. His economy rate of 10.35 is his worst among all IPL venues where he has played more than one match.
- How Rising Pune use Tahir remains to be seen. In the death overs since 2014, his economy rate has been 8.56 and has taken 36 wickets at an average of 14.08. In the middle overs in the IPL this season, he has taken four wickets and only conceded 29 runs in 42 deliveries.
- Tymal Mills has never bowled to Ben Stokes in a T20 game. Stokes scores at a strike-rate of 166 in the last five overs while Mills has taken 31 wickets in the same period, averaging 13.25 with an economy rate of 7.36.
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo