It is getting tight at the top of the table in the Indian Premier League 2019 season. Before the double header on Saturday, teams from second to five are locked on same points (eight). The incentive for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) ahead of match #28 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is to move away from this group.
RCB have a bigger reason to win the match, namely get a first win of the season after six losses. A fifth win in eight matches is what KXIP are looking for, on their home ground in Mohali
They may come across as the better-placed team of the two, but KXIP have been inconsistent too. Ravichandran Ashwin led side has just four wins this season and have won back-to-back games only once.
Bowling remains a major concern for KXIP, with Mohammed Shami (nine wickets) and Ravi Ashwin (eight) leading the charts. However, most of the bowlers continue to concede over eight runs an over. Batting has found its leader in KL Rahul (317 runs, SR 131.53).
The famed batting unit of RCB has failed to click this season, leading to their current position in the table. They have scored at just 7.3 runs per over in the powerplay (seventh best) and at 8.9 runs per over (dead last), clearly a sign of poor batting.
Virat Kohli (203 runs, SR 126.08) remains their torchbearer with the bat, but the ebbs and tides of AB de Villiers’ season (173 runs, SR 157.27) is a concern. Middle-order is almost non-existent for RCB, whose bowling has only got Yuzvendra Chahal (nine wickets) firing.
Fantasy Players to Watch
KL Rahul has been batting like a dream in IPL 2019. His last five scores running into this game read: 71*, 15, 55, 71* & 100*. Time to have him in your side and reap the runs.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been the lone bright spark for RCB this season. The attacking leg-spinner has been among the wickets, while his ER of 6.87 is the best among the RCB bowlers.
Umesh Yadav is an outside chance to play this game, but his numbers against Kings XI make a strong case for inclusion. He has 26 wickets (personal best), averages 16.0 (personal best) and has an ER of 7.13 (personal best) against KXIP.
KXIP: 1 KL Rahul (WK) 2 Chris Gayle 3 Mayank Agarwal 4 Nicholas Pooran 5 Sarfaraz Khan 6 Mandeep Singh 7 Sam Curran 8 Ravichandran Ashwin (C) 9 Hardus Viljoen 10 Mohammed Shami 11 Murugan Ashwin
RCB: 1 Virat Kohli (C) 2 Parthiv Patel (WK) 3 AB de Villiers 4 Marcus Stoinis 5 Moeen Ali 6 Akshdeep Nath 7 Pawan Negi 8 Tim Southee 9 Umesh Yadav 10 Yuzvendra Chahal 11 Navdeep Saini
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