Match 17: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rising Pune Supergiant at Bangalore, Apr 16, 2017
Chinnaswamy Stadium ( Capacity 50,000)
Sunday, 16th April
20:00 hrs IST
The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are all set to take on Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday. The battle is between the two lower ranked teams of this season so far, with RCB placed at sixth position of the points table and RPS languishing down below. Both RCB and RPS are yet to get into the groove after having won one each and losing three matches each. Somehow, both the teams have failed to find the right combination and lacked a bit when under pressure. The last time Virat Kohli and Steve Smith clashed with each other was the recently-concluded India-Australia Test series, and now both will be aiming to stem the rot. Despite Kohli’s return from injury with a stylish half century and a hat-trick from leg-spinner Samuel Badree, RCB went down to Mumbai Indians in a low-scoring affair on Friday while Pune were simply outplayed by Gujarat Lions on the same day.
Going into the game, the main area of focus for the hosts would be their approach with the bat. Barring the season opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the starts have been pretty somber. Team scores of 157, 148 and 142 do not reflect the kind of glamour the batting line-up has and the bowlers have had to cope with serious pressure. The hosts have found it tough to fill the void created due to the absence of KL Rahul – who was a solid Indian performer for them in 2016. Mandeep Singh has been used as a floater this year, but he has not quite managed to lift his side with his batting. Jadhav looks to be in great touch and the team would want him to contribute consistently. RCB, whose biggest strength is batting, need the duo to support the likes of Kohli and de Villiers.
In the other camp, Ajinkya Rahane would want to make full use of the short boundaries and arrest his form slide after an excellent 34-ball 60 against Mumbai Indians. His last three scores of 19, 10 and 0 certainly don’t paint a pretty picture. He can probably draw confidence from the fact that he made 74 off 48 balls the last time he came to Bengaluru with RPS. MS Dhoni managing a top score of 12 not out is a massive concern for the Supergiant, for whom even Ben Stokes has been blowing hot and cold. Skipper Steve Smith though has shown a lot of promise with the bat. The team management will hope that Imran Tahir – their best bowler of the season – just had an off day in Rajkot, for he is the linchpin of their bowling attack, which is otherwise looking fragile. Coach Stephen Fleming would be very mindful that the bowlers need to be at their best come Sunday, to be able to have a chance against RCB, especially at the Chinnaswamy.
Ideal Playing XI
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Sreenath Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal, Samuel Badree.
Rising Pune Supergiants: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni, Manoj Tiwary, Imran Tahir, Ankit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Rahul Chahar, Lockie Ferguson
Match prediction: The pitch appeared to be much whiter than the one used for the Mumbai Indians game. On the first look, it appears to be not a batting belter, although stroke-play could be easy if the batsman applies well. Slower bowlers are likely to get some help from the pitch. RCB with their impressive batting lineup should be able to take advantage of being at home and dominate the game. We predict a win for the RCB.