Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab, Sharjah

Pro Tip: Top-order batsmen from both sides and spinners from the Royal Challengers are must-haves.

Our XI: Devdutt Padikkal, Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Morris, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami

Substitutes: Aaron Finch, Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Navdeep Saini

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Player availability: All players are available for selection.

Captain: KL Rahul

Rahul has been consistent with three half-centuries and a century so far. His poor strike rate has hurt his team, but the volume of runs is a big plus. With the pitches slowing down, Rahul is an ideal pick as he takes his time to settle down before picking up pace later on.

Vice-captain: Virat Kohli

Kohli has shrugged off his patchy form, scoring 238 runs in the last four innings with only one dismissal. Though he had a hard time at this venue in the last game, he can be expected to make the best use of the flat pitch and the short boundaries this time.

ALSO SEE: Match centre - Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab

Hot Picks

AB de Villiers: de Villiers is coming off a match-defining knock at the same venue, where he hit 73 off just 33 balls against the Kolkata Knight Riders. This season, he has a strike rate of 235.84 at the death, the second best among all batsmen who have faced 50-plus balls in that phase of the game.

Yuzvendra Chahal: Chahal has picked up ten wickets at an economy of 7.07 so far. Even at a small ground like Sharjah, where the spinners have struggled, his figures were 1 for 12 in four overs against the Knight Riders.

Chris Morris: The Royal Challengers have looked a different bowling unit since Morris has come in. He has already picked up five wickets in two games and has gone at an economy of 4.50. Since 2018, Morris has the third best economy of 8.55 at the death in the IPL among all bowlers who have bowled 80 or more balls.

Differential Picks

Washington Sundar: Washington has been a revelation for the Royal Challengers this season. He has been used in the powerplay - his preferred bowling phase - and has responded well. He has picked up four wickets in his last two games while giving away just 5.14 per over. Moreover, his overall economy rate in the tournament is even lower, at 4.90.

Ravi Bishnoi: Bishnoi has cleverly varied his lines and lengths while also changing his pace. He has picked up eight wickets so far at an economy of 7.85. Also, in the last two games in Sharjah, there have been encouraging signs for spinners: seven wickets have come at only 5.41 per over in 24 overs.

Alternate Scenarios

  • Since batsmen from the team batting first have been more successful in Sharjah, choose your captain between Kohli and Rahul after the toss.

  • Chris Gayle is most likely to replace Glenn Maxwell for the Kings XI. If that doesn't happen, bring in Mayank Agarwal for Gayle.

  • There are five bowling options suggested, given the pitch has become slower. But if a fresh pitch is used, consider replacing Chahal with Agarwal or Aaron Finch depending on who bats first.