The Royal Challengers Bangalore will travel to Pune today to face the patchy Rising Pune Supergiants. The Bangalore side have had a poor tournament, having won only two of their nine games, with six losses and one cancelled game, and need to win all of their remaining five games to stand a mathematical chance of qualifying for the playoffs (this is also subject to favorable results in other games). The Pune side, on the other hand, have eight points from eight games, and Steve Smith’s men will be hoping to address this inconsistent performance when they face last year’s runners-up today.
The Bangalore side have a fearsome batting attack on paper, with Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli all extremely dangerous in this format of the game. However, RCB batsmen have passed the half century mark on only five occasions in eight matches of this year’s IPL, and RCB have now been bowled out on 3 occasions in VIVO IPL 2017; the last time they were bowled out thrice in an IPL season was in the inaugural season in 2008.
In contrast, RPS have discovered stars in their domestic players. The find of the season for them has been opener Rahul Tripathi, who has amassed 216 runs in 6 games, at a strike rate of 154.2, and has passed the 30 run mark in 5 consecutive games, the most of any batsman in this IPL. Only skipper Steve Smith with 275 runs (26 boundaries and seven sixes) has scored more than him. Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has mustered only 152 runs at a strike-rate of 120 plus with his only match-winning knock coming against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Bowlers Unadkat and Shardul Thakur have been good in patches. It has been left to Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir to get the wickets for the Pune side, and the captain would be hoping Stokes is fit for today’s game. He bowled some superb overs against Mumbai in the game at Wankhede to win the Man-of-the-Match award.
When and Where:
MCA Stadium, Pune, 1600 IST 29 April 2017
Rising Pune Supergiant
Steve Smith (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Ashok Dinda, Faf du Plessis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Dan Christian, Lockie Ferguson, Imran Tahir, Jaskaran Singh, Usman Khawaja, Saurabh Kumar, Ben Stokes, Washington Sundar, Milind Tandon, Manoj Tiwary, Adam Zampa, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishwar Pandey, Rahul Tripathi, Shardul Thakur.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Vishnu Vinod (wicketkeeper), Sreenath Arvind, Kedar Jadhav (wicketkeeper), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tymal Mills, Aniket Chaudhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake, Harpreet Singh.
Head to Head
Overall: Matches played – 3, RPS Won – 1, RCB Won – 2
Earlier this season, RPS defeated RCB by 27 runs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. After posting 161-8 riding on the back of useful contributions from their top four batsmen, RPS then restricted the hosts to 134-9.
- Ben Stokes will play an important part of the proceedings, if he is fit to play, both with the bat and the ball. The medium pacer takes the pace off the ball, helping slow the flow of runs and picking up the occasional wicket. Also an explosive batsman
- This match will feature the top-ranked batsmen in the three different formats of international cricket, and therefore the spotlight will be on the trio; RPS’s Steven Smith is the top-ranked batsman in Test cricket, while RCB’s AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli top the lists in ODIs & T20Is respectively.
- RPS will want Rahul Tripathi to continue scoring runs at the top. The 26-year old has combined well with Ajinkya Rahane at the top, and the pair have been involved in partnerships of 76 & 65 in the last two matches. RPS will also expect a big knock from Ajinkya Rahane, who has had starts, but is yet to convert it into something huge.
- RCB will hope for a good performance from their batsmen, who have disappointed all season. A captain’s knock from Virat Kohli is certainly needed to keep their chances of qualifying for the playoffs alive.