RCB, rooted in second from bottom in the table, sparked some rest bite last time out with a five-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils.
Though, it has been a largely disappointing campaign for the franchise who need to win this one and then their final two group matches to stand any chance of progression to the business end of the 11th edition of the IPL.
The picture, on paper at least, is brighter for KXIP but that doesn’t tell the full story of their recent plight. Ravi Ashwin’s men could really do with maximum points to not only secure third spot but also fend off the growing advances of fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.
The team from Mohali have faded away in spectacular fashion, losing four out of their past five matches. They also were defeated by RCB in their clash back in April, by a four-wicket margin.
Taking that into account and their wretched run, the odds are in RCB’s favours to reignite their charge, especially with two lynchpins: Kohli and AB de Villiers, capable of seeing the hosts to victory much like they did chasing 182 against the Daredevils.
Batting strong but bowling woes
While both KL Rahul (537 runs) and Chris Gayle (332 runs) have performed excellently with the willow and all too often carried this KXIP team, their bowling attack has lacked the depth and potency required.
Aside from standout Andrew Tye, who has 20 scalps in the competition, and the rich form of spinning prodigy Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ashwin and Axar Patel have struggled to break important and often match-winning opposition partnerships while reserve pacers Barinder Sran and Mohit Sharma have gone for runs, showing little clinical edge.
Similarly, RCB’s contingent with the ball haven’t hit their strides consistently but perhaps captain Kohli himself is as guilty as anyone for that having often chopped and changed his bowling line-up to varying degrees of success.
Both Yuzvendra Chahal and Umesh Yadav have played in all the matches so far, taking 24 wickets between them, with the Indian duo having the capability of swinging the game in Bangalore’s favour if they can muster an early spree against the top-order.
At Indore, RCB will need to rely on that with both Chris Woakes and Tim Southee proving a bit hit and miss in spite of their wholesale international experience.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Squad from:
Virat Kohli(c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Quinton de Kock, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manan Vohra, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Mandeep Singh, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Parthiv Patel, Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson
Kings XI Punjab Squad from:
Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin(c), Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar
Sandeep Lamichhane was handed his IPL debut as Delhi Daredevils took on the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The Nepal leg-spinner became the first from his nation to participate in the premier T20 tournament.
The 17-year-old spinner ultimately ended up on the losing side as the Royal Challengers notched up a five-wicket win.
Here, we take a closer look at Sandeep’s performance with the ball.
OVERS BOWLED: 4
RUNS CONCEDED: 25
Sandeep was thrown into the deep-end immediately as he was asked to open the bowling for Delhi in the powerplay. Completely unfazed by the occasion, the leg-spinner bowled a brilliant first-over that showed what he is all about before capturing his maiden IPL wicket in the form of Parthiv Patel. He remained highly economical on a pitch where the other bowlers copped some punishment.
Plenty. Despite being given the new ball, Sandeep was not shy to give it plenty of flight. He bowled three excellent googlies in the very first over to create plenty of doubts in the batsman’s mind. Even the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers found it tough to pick his ‘other one’ early on. After being smashed for a boundary over his head by Parthiv, the Nepal teenager responded immediately by dismissing the batsman off the next delivery.
First Nepali to play in the #VIVOIPL - ✔— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) May 12, 2018
Picking up a wicket on debut - ✔
Sandeep Lamichhane's strutting his daredevilry for all to see! How many more can he bag tonight? #DDvRCB #BESTvsBEST pic.twitter.com/jxRlJdsWVP
The youngster hardly put a foot wrong despite his fellow bowlers taking a thrashing from the batsmen. He bowled against the world’s very best batsmen in Kohli and ABD but looked completely at home. His figures would have looked a whole lot better were it not for the six that De Villiers hit off the penultimate ball of his spell.
High and Spirited, hunger in the eyes, spirited for performance. Proves his talent and merit on the biggest platform for cricket in the world #SandeepLamichhane Take A Bow. We are quixotic #DilDilli #DDvRCB #IPL— Weraz (@imWeraz) May 12, 2018
VERDICT – 9/10
Though he might have ended up with just the one wicket, Sandeep’s introduction to the IPL could not have gone any better. To hit the right lengths in your very first match of the competition as a 17-year-old is no ordinary task. For the young leg-spinner to face the world’s best batsmen in his very first outing and still come out of it holding his head high speaks volumes about Sandeep’s prodigious talent. His showing will leave the Daredevils coaching staff wondering if they have missed a trick by not playing him from the start of the tournament.
Here, we look at the key talking points from Bangalore’s critical win.
CHAHAL ROCKS DELHI’S OPENERS
Prithvi Shaw has been handing the Daredevils some explosive starts ever since he was introduced into the playing XI. The India U19 World Cup winning captain however, was unable to carry on his good form on Saturday as Kohli turned to leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to open the bowling.
Chahal had gone wicket-less in the side’s last three games but he gave them the perfect start with the double scalps of Shaw and Jason Roy. Both the openers had their woodwork shattered by the India man after they failed to pick his googly.
IN-FORM PANT FIGHTS BACK WITH ANOTHER FIFTY
At 16-2, Royal Challengers had the hosts right where they wanted them to be. They however hadn’t accounted for Rishabh Pant. The youngster carried on from where left off against Sunrisers Hyderabad as he followed up his unbeaten century with an equally entertaining fifty.
The left-hander was once again extremely lethal with his on-side play as he smashed his way to a fifth fifty-plus score in this year’s IPL. The 20-year-old hit four huge sixes and five boundaries in a 34-ball knock which fetched 61 runs. His 93-run stand with skipper Shreyas Iyer for the third wicket got Delhi back into the game.
Rishabh Pant SR in 2018 IPL:— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) May 12, 2018
215.38 vs KXIP
188.00 vs MI
213.64 vs KKR
177.08 vs RCB
175.56 vs CSK
237.93 vs RR
203.17 vs SRH
179.41 vs RCB
( Minimum 20 Runs )
KOHLI AND DE VILLIERS MAKE IT LOOK EASY
For the second match in a row, the Daredevils saw the opposition surmount a huge total with ease while chasing. If it was Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson for the Sunrisers last time, it was Kohli and De Villiers who made chasing look effortlessly easy on Saturday.
After both Bangalore openers fell early, the two star batsmen took charge for the visitors in style. Kohli showed no after effect of any illness on his return to his hometown as he smashed his way to a 34th IPL fifty before being dismissed by Amit Mishra.
At the other end, De Villiers remained unbeaten on 72 as he finished the job for the visitors with a six with an entire over to spare.