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Rising Pune eye top-half retention despite Stokes' absence

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Bangar: Kohli's unorthodox style of play helps him dominate legspinners (3:32)

Ajit Agarkar and Sanjay Bangar dissect the key battle between Virat Kohli and Imran Tahir ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore's encounter against Rising Pune Supergiant (3:32)

Match facts

Rising Pune Supergiant v Royal Challengers Bangalore
Pune, April 29, 2017
Start time 1600 local (1030 GMT)

Head to head

This season: An inexperienced opening bowling pair of Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur strangled a batting-heavy Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up to defend 161 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. The duo ended with combined figures of 8-0-60-5.

Overall: In their three meetings so far, Royal Challengers hold a 2-1 edge, having won both their matches against Rising Pune last year.

In the news

Ben Stokes, who injured his shoulder in the game against Mumbai Indians on Monday, is likely to miss next couple of matches.

In Rising Pune's last match, Steven Smith had said they wanted to make the MCA Stadium a fortress with back-to-back matches coming up. When Stokes could not play because he was "sore", bringing in Faf du Plessis instead of beefing up their inexperienced bowling attack did not help.

Royal Challengers, who can technically still make the playoffs, will be happy to have Tymal Mills fit again and help them bag wickets even as the batsmen struggle to score over 150.

The likely XIs

Rising Pune Supergiant: 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Faf du Plessis, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Manoj Tiwary, 7 Dan Christian, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Jaydev Unadkat

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Chris Gayle/Travis Head, 2 Virat Kohli (capt), 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Pawan Negi, 7 Samuel Badree, 8 Tymal Mills/Adam Milne, 9 S Aravind, 10 Aniket Choudhary, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Strategy punt

Rahul Tripathi, Rising Pune's giant in the Powerplays so far, has a rapid strike-rate of 170.71 (169 runs off 99 balls) in the first six overs this season. Against left-arm bowlers in the same period, however, his strike-rate drops to 114.8 (31 runs off 27 balls). Even though RCB often bowl Samuel Badree or Yuzvendra Chahal in the Powerplay, they could opt for S Aravind or Pawan Negi this time to keep Tripathi in check.

Stats that matter

  • Going by the win-loss ratio, RCB are having their worst season in the last 10 years. With two wins and six losses, the ratio stands at 0.33. Their second-worst season was the inaugural edition in 2008 when they won only four of the 14 matches.

  • Steven Smith, Rising Pune's highest scorer this season, has scored only 22 runs off 26 balls with a strike-rate of 84.61 against Yuzvendra Chahal, Royal Challengers' highest wicket-taker so far.

  • Among bowlers who have bowled over 10 overs in the first 15 overs this IPL, Shane Watson's economy rate of 10.60 is the worst.

  • Among batsmen who have played at least 10 IPL innings, AB de Villiers has the best strike-rate in the last five overs of an innings. He has scored 905 runs off 393 balls with a staggering strike-rate of 230.27.

  • Tripathi has been dismissed only twice in 99 balls in Powerplays this season.