Match: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kings XI Punjab (RCB vs KXIP)
Date:October 15, 2020
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium – Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
RCB will be eager to continue their winning run when they take on a depleted Kings XI Punjab team in the 31st game of IPL 2020. The Virat Kohli-led side are one of the best teams this tournament and have all their bases covered. In Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch, the team has one of the most dangerous opening pairs, while the middle order is boosted by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal have been the key spinners, while the entry of Chris Morris has boosted the pace bowling department.
Punjab, on the other hand, have just one win from seven games and have been unable to get going. They are heavily reliant on KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal but will be boosted by the inclusion of Chris Gayle, who is likely to play his first IPL 2020 game on Thursday.
The weather in Sharjah will be hot and humid, with temperatures touching the 38-degree mark.
The ground in Sharjah has small boundaries, which assists run scoring. However, the track is getting slower with each game and batting second will not be the easiest.
Earlier, the teams that won the toss were eager to chase at the venue, but the wicket has become slower of late. Batting first will be the preferred option.
RCB Expected XI and Team News
Royal Challengers Bangalore were in ruthless form against Kolkata Knight Riders in their last game, which they won by 82 runs at this venue. They have no reason to change the XI, and they are expected to go in unchanged.
AB de Villiers: The South African was in phenomenal form in the last game against Kolkata Knight Riders, smashing 73 in just 33 balls. He is the biggest match-winner for RCB and he will be eager to play another match-winning knock.
Virat Kohli: The Indian skipper had started the season on a quiet note but has found his rhythm of late. He has come good in the last few games, and recently smashed an unbeaten 90 against CSK.
Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villier, Shivam Dube, Washington Sunder, Navdeep Saini, Chris Morris, Isuru Udana, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj
KXIP Expected XI and Team News
Kings XI Punjab have tried out various combinations, but none have seemed to work. They might finally get in Chris Gayle in the XI for Glenn Maxwell. The unit might also get in Ishan Porel or Deepak Hooda for Mandeep Singh.
KL Rahul: The Indian has been in top form this season and is currently the highest run getter this season. He has been playing big knocks and will want to get his team off to a flier.
Mayank Agarwal: The opener has been in good form this season along with his partner KL Rahul. He is the second highest run-scorer and should be backed to anchor the innings and play a big knock.
KL Rahul (C & WK), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicolas Pooran, Deepak Hooda/Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, Chris Jordan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Head to head record of RCB v KXIP:
There is hardly anything to choose between the two sides in the 25 games that they have played thus far. RCB have 12 wins, while KXIP have 13. Punjab had convincingly defeated RCB when the two teams had met earlier this season, with KL Rahul smashing an unbeaten 132.
MPL Fantasy Prediction for RCB vs KXIP:
WK: Three wicket-keepers have been picked in the MPL fantasy team. AB de Villiers was in phenomenal form in the last game, while KL Rahul is the Orange Cap holder. The two are must-picks, while Nicholas Pooran has played quick cameos and will be eager to score a big knock in a crucial game.
Batsmen: Mayank Agarwal is the second-highest run scorer in IPL 2020 and has been at his aggressive best. Chris Gayle will be eager to play his first IPL game and impress right away. He has been on the bench thus far, and is expected to open the innings. Devdutt Padikkal has been one of the most impressive youngsters this season. He has 243 runs in 7 games with three fifties and a high score of 63.
All-rounders: Chris Morris has played just two games this season and has already proved his mettle, with figures of 3 for 19 and 2 for 17 respectively. He has a strike rate of more than 150 with the bat in his T20 career, and can be a crucial finisher as well. Washington Sundar has been economical in the powerplay overs and will be the key yet again.
Bowlers: Ravi Bishnoi has been impressive with his wrong ‘uns this season, and has picked up 8 wickets thus far. Isuru Udana has been crucial with the new ball, while Navdeep Saini has been nailing his yorkers to perfection at the death.
Captain and VC: AB de Villiers and Mayank Agarwal
Match Prediction for RCB vs KXIP:
Royal Challengers Bangalore are in the top half of the table, while Kings XI Punjab are struggling for form, with just one win this season. On paper, RCB are heads and tails above their rivals, and it would need a monumental effort from KL Rahul’s men to stop them. They are, however, in a do or die game position, and the big names in the team – Chris Gayle, Mohammad Shami and KL Rahul – will be eager to play fearlessly, which makes them dangerous.
Royal Challengers Bangalore are the favourites to win.
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