Date and time: September 24, Thursday; 19:30 IST
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2020 preview
Results in their opening fixtures could have so easily been different for Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore. While RCB fought back from being on the brink of defeat, the former failed to get over the line after narrowing the equation down to one run required off three balls. Kings XI’s defeat to Delhi Capitals wasn’t without controversy but they will know they had, thanks to Mayank Agarwal’s 60-ball 89, put themselves in a comfortable position before a couple of needless shots cost them the match.
It’s too early in the season to expect teams to be flawless. But both teams have a few areas to address.
For three-time runner-up RCB, the role of Aaron Finch at the top of the order is unclear based on the pace of his innings (29 runs off 27 balls) against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Dropping Finch after one match would be harsh, but it’s unlikely that Chris Morris will continue to be benched for long. It leaves the team management with a decision to make. Will they persist with wicketkeeper Josh Philippe, who was unconvincing behind the stumps on Tuesday? Is Dale Steyn indispensable?
Yuzvendra Chahal remains captain Virat Kohli‘s go-to bowler. Umesh Yadav’s lack of control could concern the team management. Navdeep Saini has made an impressive start to the season with the ball.
Speaking after Kings XI’s defeat to Delhi Capitals, Agarwal said: “The way we came back was fantastic, the way we bowled with the new ball was terrific. It really hurts to not close off the game from the situation we were in… feels terrible. we should have finished the game when we needed one run. This is just the first game… we can get things rolling again, let’s see how we will go in the coming games. I think to play a game like that first up was fantastic.”
Kings XI will want to address their death bowling and the reckless batting from their middle-order batsmen.
Mohammed Shami is a death-overs bowling option for captain KL Rahul with his ability to bowl the yorker at will and hit the bat hard. Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell, despite being explosive ball-strikers, must get their shot selection right.
Despite the disappointing loss to begin their IPL 2020 campaign, the positives coming out of their opening fixture—Agarwal’s ability to shift gears and clear the boundary under pressure, young Ravi Bishnoi’s execution with the ball, to name a couple—augur well for Kings XI as they meet Royal Challengers.
KXIP vs RCB head to head in IPL
Both teams have won 12 matches apiece in 24 meetings in the IPL.
Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab home and away last season.
KXIP vs RCB Dubai pitch report and conditions
Both teams played their opening fixtures at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and will now have a fair idea of the pitch conditions.
The bounce was variable in both the fixtures with a few balls bowled on a good length rushing through to the ‘keeper at knee-height.
Yuzvendra Chahal, it’s worth mentioning, got the ball to turn prodigiously on Monday, giving an indication that the Dubai pitch is probably more conducive to spin bowling than Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Ground dimensions at the venue are easily the biggest, too, with the square boundaries, in particular, difficult to clear. Which, again, makes spinners more of a threat.
KXIP vs RCB Dubai weather forecast for September 24
A maximum of 39-degree Celsius is forecast for Thursday, with the temperature dropping 28-degree Celsius in the evening.
The humidity, at 38 per cent, should make the conditions relatively comfortable for the players.
IPL 2020: KXIP vs RCB playing 11
Kings XI Punjab are likely to retain their playing 11, which would mean Mujeeb Ur Rahman sits out again.
Probable Kings XI Punjab playing 11: 1 KL Rahul (c & wk), 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Nicholas Pooran, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Karun Nair, 6 Sarfaraz Khan, 7 Krishnappa Gowtham, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Ravi Bishnoi
Royal Challengers Bangalore could bring in Chris Morris for Josh Philippe, with AB de Villiers keeping wickets.
Probable Royal Challengers Bangalore playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Devdutt Padikkal, 3 Aaron Finch, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 Josh Philippe/Chris Morris, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Umesh Yadav, 9 Navdeep Saini, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Both teams are evenly matched from Nos. 1 to 11. With the top order for Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore stacked with heavyweights, the result could hinge on the battle up front between the new-ball bowlers and the engine room of the two batting line-ups.