Royal Challengers Bangalore will play their first match at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in IPL 2018 against Kings XI Punjab at Bengaluru on Friday. RCB had lost their first encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders and are looking for their maiden win in the tournament. KXIP had won the first encounter against Delhi and would target their second win on the trot. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of the clash between RCB and KXIP at Bengaluru on Friday.
Power-packed batting line-up:
RCB have one of the best batting line-ups in the competition. Virat Kohli would lead from the front after a dismal show in the last match against KKR. They have a reliable opening pair in Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock. Although they failed to fire in the last game, they would look to give the team a good start in the clash against Punjab. AB de Villiers would be the X-factor in the playing XI. He slammed 23-ball 44 in the last clash against KKR. Mandeep Singh, lower down the order, would provide the finishing touch to the XI.
Lacking the ruthless approach:
RCB were cruising to 200-plus total against KKR in the last game. But they lost Kohli and ABD in the same over and lost the momentum and ended with a below-par 176/7. It has been the biggest drawback of RCB to finish off an innings in previous seasons as well. KXIP bowlers would be difficult to get away with and hence, RCB would have a tough challenge at hands.
RCB possible XI:
Virat Kohli, Brendon McCullum, Mandeep Singh, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Quinton de Kock, YS Chahal, Pawan Negi, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes, Aniket Choudhary
Punjab have shopped well and invested in quality players in KL Rahul, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Karun Nair who all came good in the clash against Delhi. Rahul slammed fastest fifty in the last clash. They also have other notable performers in spinner-captain R Ashwin, bowler Andrew Tye and experienced campaigner in Yuvraj Singh, and David Miller. KXIP have all their bases covered.
Punjab have few stars who have passed their prime and the team are carrying them as liability. Punjab have Yuvraj Singh who is more of a gamble for the team. Then, they have Chris Gayle who is inconsistent and is yet to get a game in the tournament. Can these Punjab stars give their best if given the chance in playing XI?
KXIP possible XI:
KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Marcus Stoinis, David Miller, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Key battles to watch out for:
AB de Villiers vs R Ashwin
ABD is the most complete batsman in modern-day cricket. He can thrash any bowling attack on his day and to all corners of the ground. Ashwin, on the other hand, is leading the team and is easily one of the best spinners around. Ashwin will have a tough task at hand to stop ABD from running away with the game with his big hitting. But ABD can just fall to the variations of Ashwin. It will be quite an exciting contest to watch out for.
Head to head:
RCB and KXIP have faced each other 20 times in last 10 seasons. RCB have won 8 of them, and lost 12 of them.
RCB are playing at home and they would be knowing the conditions better than any other team. RCB have a good record at home too and they will have the crowd support. But Punjab look a different team this season. But our vote goes to Punjab this time around.