Mohali, May 8: Desperate to get their campaigns back on track, two bottom placed teams in Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore lock horns here tomorrow (May 9), aiming to keep their winning momentum going to stay afloat in the Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9).
Both Kings XI and RCB have struggled in the ongoing IPL and their hard-fought victories yesterday (May 7) came at a time when they badly needed wins to remain in the hunt.
While RCB managed to snap their three losing streak with a seven-wicket win over Rising Pune Supergiants, Kings XI defeated Delhi Daredevils by nine runs to register only their third win in the tournament out of nine games.
Kings XI is languishing at the bottom of the table with six points from nine games, while RCB are just ahead with same points from eight matches. And from here on, both the teams cannot afford to slip a bit and would look for consistency to keep their campaigns alive.
For Kings XI it won't be easy as RCB's batting line up includes some of the destructive names of world cricket in skipper Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson.
Come tomorrow, all eyes will be on RCB skipper Virat Kohli whose performance in the ongoing IPL has left oppositions dumbstruck. Kohli has emerged as man of the moment for RCB, whose third victory against Pune yesterday, came largely due to the skipper's 58-ball unbeaten 108.
Chasing a formidable 192 for victory, a determined Kohli batted right till the end to amass his second century of the tournament and guide RCB to the much-needed win. Kohli is leading the top scorers list with 541 runs, which includes two tons and four half-centuries.
And come tomorrow, it will an acid test for Kings XI bowling unit to contain Kohli and his Co. Come tomorrow it will be a battle between Kings XI bowlers and RCB batsmen and whichever side manages to keep their composure will come out victorious.
RCB, with perhaps the most intimidating batting line-ups, has had to taste defeats because of a pedestrian bowling attack that has failed to defend 180 plus scores in most of the matches.
RCB's two best performers with the ball have been Watson and Yuzvendra Chahal but the likes of Stuart Binny, newly-inducted Chris Jordan, Varun Aaron and Parvez Rasool, who all leaked runs yesterday, will have to put up much better performance to support the team's batting department.
On the other hand, inconsistency has hurt Kings XI badly in the ongoing season. They have lost three while managing to win just two on their home turf.
Kings XI, which looked to have gained some confidence from their 23-run win over Gujarat Lions earlier on May 1, were quick to fritter away the advantage in the subsequent match when they lost by seven runs to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Chinks in their batting have been exposed time and again and in some games they have shown tendency to over-depend on one or two batsmen while chasing, like they did when all burden came on Glenn Maxwell, who struck a 42-ball 68 in the losing cause against Knight Riders.
Punjab outfit have even changed their skipper midway through the tournament and replaced David Miller with Murali Vijay to relieve pressure from the South African, but despite that Miller is yet to make a big impact with the bat.
Kings XI will also be hoping for a big knock from South African batsman Hashim Amla, who played his first match against Delhi yesterday but was run out for just one.
Australian Marcus Stoinis (52) has impressed with his all-round performance against Daredevils yesterday. He followed up his half-century effort with a three-wicket haul.
Wriddhiman Saha too scored a quickfire 52 in the winning cause and the wicket-keeper batsman would like to carry on his form.
But trio of Vijay, Maxwell and Miller will have to come up with consistent performances with the bat to help Kings XI stay afloat.
On the bowling front, medium pacer duo of Sandeep Sharma, and Mohit Sharma have been impressive.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Varun Aaron, Abu Nechim, S Arvind, Samuel Badree, Stuart Binny, Yuzvendra Chahal, AB de Villiers, Praveen Dubey, Chris Gayle, Travis head, Iqbal Abdulla, Kedar Jadhav, Akshay Karnewar, Sarfraz Khan, Vikramjeet Malik, Mandeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Lokesh Rahul (wicketkeeper), Parveez Rasool, Kane Richardson, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas, Shane Watson, David Wiese, Chris Jordan, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Kings XI Punjab: Murali Vijay (captain), Hashim Amla, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Singh, David Miller, Axar Patel, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Mohit Sharma, KC Cariappa, Sandeep Sharma, Anureet Singh, Armaan Jaffer, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Rishi Dhawan, Mitchell Johnson, Nikhil Naik, Manan Vohra, Pradeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh, Shradul Thakur.
Match starts 8 PM IST