After the Glenn Maxwell-led Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) registered a clinical six-wicket win to kick-off their IPL 2017 campaign, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) eked out a 15-run win over Delhi Daredevils. Both KXIP and RCB played their respective first and second matches of this season on Saturday, and will now lock horns on Monday evening (April 10, 8pm) in match 8, at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
We are in the embryonic stage of this IPL season and all eight teams are trying to figure out what their best playing XI is.
Unlike most other teams, KXIP do not have many injury concerns. Murali Vijay has been ruled out of this season, though in Manan Vohra Kings XI have an able back-up. Their middle order is quite settled too and will be for the rest of the season, with Maxwell and David Miller being the mainstays of the Kings XI batting line-up.
Royal Challengers are one of the two most injury-hit IPL sides this season, with Delhi Daredevils being the other. The challenge for RCB is playing well and getting themselves into a good position on the IPL points table before the superstars of the team, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, return to action.
Kings XI (KXIP) vs Royal Challengers (RCB): The Probable Playing XIs for Match 8 (April 10, 8pm)
The playing XI Kings XI fielded on Saturday was quite well-balanced with five out-and-out batsmen (Vohra, Hashim Amla, Maxwell, Miller, and Wriddhiman Saha), two all-rounders (Marcus Stoinis and Axar Patel) and four pure bowlers (Swapnil Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, and Thangarasu Natarajan).
KXIP do not have a reason to alter their playing XI against RCB. Yes, they can look at bringing in a much more aggressive batsman like Shaun Marsh in place of Hashim Amla at the top of the order. Otherwise, the three pacemen complement each other well and Swapnil bowled really well against RPS.
So, here’s the probable KXIP playing XI vs. RCB: 1. Glenn Maxwell (c), 2. Manan Vohra, 3. Hashim Amla, 4. David Miller, 5. Marcus Stoinis, 6. Wriddhiman Saha, 7. Axar Patel, 8. Swapnil Singh, 9. Sandeep Sharma, 10. Mohit Sharma, and 11. Thangarasu Natarajan
Actual playing XI for KXIP: 1. Glenn Maxwell (c), 2. Manan Vohra, 3. Hashim Amla, 4. David Miller, 5. Marcus Stoinis, 6. Wriddhiman Saha, 7. Axar Patel, 8. Varun Aaron, 9. Sandeep Sharma, 10. Mohit Sharma, and 11. Thangarasu Natarajan
Royal Challengers made four changes to their playing XI against Delhi Daredevils from the side which played and lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad on the opening night:
- Billy Stanlake for Travis Head
- Vishnu Vinod for Sachin Baby
- Iqbal Abdulla for Sreenath Aravind
- Pawan Negi for Aniket Choudhary
What those four changes suggest is, RCB have yet to find the right combination. And, of course, they are without AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, meaning they have been forced to make do with the players they have in their squad.
Shane Watson, after the victory over Daredevils, dropped a bombshell by saying that Kohli and de Villiers could make the RCB playing XI in their very next match, which is against KXIP.
Now, Kohli’s shoulder injury is a lot more serious than de Villiers’ back injury, and the South African superstar is understood to be close to 100% fitness. Therefore, I believe de Villiers could make the playing XI and lead RCB against the Maxwell-led Kings XI on Monday night (April 10).
The subsequent question has to be, who will make way for de Villiers? Chris Gayle is unlikely to be axed and Billy Stanlake put in a really good bowling performance against Delhi Daredevils, leaving one among Shane Watson and Tymal Mills to be sacrificed. And, because Watson is an all-rounder and provides runs as a middle order batsman, the Englishman might well have to make way for de Villiers. Iqbal Abdullah, who was expensive (2/36) in RCB’s last fixture against DD, could be dropped too, with a left-arm seamer potentially replacing him.
Therefore, here’s the probable RCB playing XI vs. KXIP: 1. AB de Villiers (C), 2. Chris Gayle, 3. Mandeep Singh, 4. Kedar Jadhav, 5. Shane Watson, 6. Stuart Binny, 7. Vishnu Vinod, 8. Pawan Negi, 9. Billy Stanlake, 10. Yuzvendra Chahal, and 11. Sreenath Aravind/Aniket Choudhary
Actual playing XI for RCB: 1. AB de Villiers, 2. Mandeep Singh, 3. Kedar Jadhav, 4. Shane Watson (C), 5. Stuart Binny, 6. Vishnu Vinod, 7. Pawan Negi, 8. Billy Stanlake, 9. Yuzvendra Chahal, 10. Iqbal Abdulla, and 11. Tymal Mills