Dubai: Left in disarray after consecutive losses, the Royal Challengers Bangalore face the arduous task of taming the yet-to-be-beaten table-toppers Kings XI Punjab when the two sides clash in an IPL VII match, here, on Monday.
One isn’t sure whether the contrast in the fortunes of the two sides would have any effect on the outcome of the match.
The Royal Challengers, sans West Indian marauder Chris Gayle who is nursing a sore back, were completely outplayed in their most recent match, against the Rajasthan Royals.
Their star-studded batting line-up collapsed to the third-lowest IPL total ever before the Royals made short work of the paltry 71-run target in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Except for captain Virat Kohli, none of the Royal Challengers batsmen could make any noteworthy contribution. Yuvraj Singh has been getting decent knocks, but his strike rate remains a concern.
Saturday’s loss was a crushing one and Kohli wants to forget it as quickly as possible but it would be quite a task for his team to turn it around against Kings XI, who are by far the most consistent team of the season so far.
Barring the game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, which was won by their bowlers, the Kings XI batsmen, especially Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, have been in murderous form.
It would require a very special effort to stop them, something that the Knights’ spin combo of Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla managed to do before the Kings XI produced some magic of their own with the ball through the pace pair of Sandeep Sharma and Mitchell Johnson.
A big positive for Kings XI is senior opener Virender Sehwag’s return to some form.
The veteran, who has fallen out of national reckoning, is slowly getting back into the groove with some decent contributions in the past couple of matches.
But Cheteshwar Pujara is still finding his feet in the format, even though his individual form has not yet hurt the team too much.