Monday, May 12, 2008
Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)
Shaun Marsh is Punjab's leading run-scorer with 221 runs from four games
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The Big Picture
This is a match between two teams journeying in different directions. After a poor start, King's XI Punjab have won five in a row before being outsmarted by L Balaji and the Chennai Super Kings in a top-of-the-table clash. They're still handily placed to push on to the semi-finals though.
The Bangalore Royal Challengers started poorly, humiliated in the tournament opener, and have managed to plumb new depths in subsequent matches. They have two narrow wins to show for their efforts, and wretched fielding cost them in at least a couple more games that went to the wire. Bangalore have reached a decisive stage in their campaign, and a couple of further setbacks will mean that the remaining games will have significance only for the teams they play against.
Punjab have won three in a row at home, while Bangalore haven't tasted success away since they won in Mumbai on the third day of the season. The previous encounter between the two sides was a one-sided affair, with Sreesanth's superb opening spell effectively ending the contest, and all signs point to a comfortable home victory.
King's XI Punjab P8, W5, L3, NRR +0.272
Bangalore Royal Challengers P8, W2, L6, NRR -1.309
IPL form (last five matches)
King's XI Punjab: WWWWL
Bangalore Royal Challengers: LLWLL
Watch out for ...
Shaun Marsh, who just can't stop scoring, and Sreesanth, bowling at his
best after that slap in the face.
Cameron White. Against Kolkata, he showed signs of why Bangalore
coughed up so much money [US$500,000] for him.
Despite the loss of Brett Lee, the Punjab's pace attack has done an excellent job on home turf. Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan have been a potent new-ball combination, with VRV Singh providing sterling back-up. Piyush Chawla's legspin has also been a handful on a surface that has more bounce than the average Indian one. The batting is still missing the injured Kumar Sangakkara, but Ramnaresh Sarwan is due a big outing.
King's XI Punjab (probable): 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 James Hopes, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Yuvraj Singh (capt), 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Irfan Pathan, 7 Piyush Chawla, 8 Uday Kaul (wk), 9 Sreesanth, 10 VRV Singh, 11 Gagandeep Singh.
Bangalore have built and broken down as much as a small boy with a Lego set, and the results haven't been flattering. Jacques Kallis, one of the most expensive foreign imports [$900,000], should continue to sit out, while Misbah-ul-Haq, one of the World Twenty20 heroics, must surely come back in for the yet-to-fire Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The bowlers have done a decent job, though Anil Kumble is still searching for his first wicket in the competition.
Bangalore Royal Challengers (probable): 1 J Arunkumar, 2 Virat Kohli, 3 Mark Boucher (wk), 4 Cameron White, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Rahul Dravid (capt), 7 Praveen Kumar, 8 Anil Kumble, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Vinay Kumar.
Stats and trivia
Punjab, on an average, score 85.5 runs in their first ten overs, while Bangalore lag behind with 70.5 runs at the half-way mark.
Marsh, with 221 runs from four innings at 73.66, has the highest average among batsmen currently playing in the IPL.
Zaheer Khan, with 13 victims, is the highest-wicket taker in the IPL, while Pathan is at joint second-place with 12 wickets.
"Twenty20 is unique and lot of young Indian players are excelling in this format. Whether they can take this confidence to the next level is debatable. It's not going to be easy and the skills with which you achieve success in Twenty20 may not help you give you success in Ranji and Tests."
Rahul Dravid, on whether Twenty20 skills will help in other formats
Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at Cricinfo