All eyes will be on Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli as RCB take on a hapless Kings XI Punjab in match number 50 of the Indian Premier League at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Wednesday. Kohli, who has been in unbelievably merciless form split his webbing while fielding in the game against Kolkata Knight Riders. But, there will be no respite for Punjab's bowlers as Kohli will take the field in the match in spite of getting a few stitches. That certainly is not good news for the opposition. If Kohli gets going once again, it could be another nightmare game for Punjab.
Although Kohli has been in scintillating form, the same hasn't been the case with the team as a whole. As a result, they are still not assured of a place in the final four. They will have to win their remaining matches to ensure so. And, while they will again be looking forward to deliver, he has not actually been a one-man show for the team. AB de Villiers has been in incredible form as well. In fact, in terms of consistency, he stands only next to his captain. Then, there is Lokesh Rahul, who has got a few fifties at a brisk pace. Bangalore would be pleased that Chris Gayle got some runs in the previous encounter.
If there is one area where RCB have struggled miserably, it has definitely been their bowling. Bangalore have just not had the talent to restrict the opponents, and it is their super batting that has bailed them out on numerous occasions. Experience leggie Yuzvendra Chahal has been among the few who has been among the wickets. But, he too struggled in the first half of the tournament. Shane Watson is the other bowler, who has been among the wickets, but he has been way too expensive for the team's liking. As for the rest, the less said the better.
It has been a while since Punjab have known their fate in the tournament, and they will be playing for pride once again. Although Glenn Maxwell hasn't been in the best form this season, his loss to injury is a setback to the team's chances of salvaging some degree of respectability. They had already lost Shaun Marsh due to the same reason earlier in the season. The failure of David Miller has been among the key reasons for Punjab's failure in the event. He began the season as skipper, and with plenty of high hopes, but ends it unsure of even his place in the starting eleven.
The only positive for Punjab in the tournament so far has been the form of their replacement skipper Murali Vijay. In the second half of the season, Vijay has got among the runs though even his consistency hasn't been as impressive. Among the bowlers Axar Patel got a hat-trick in one of the matches while both Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma have crossed the double figure mark when it comes to the wicket haul. These positives have been bits and pieces though. As an overall team, Punjab have failed to put things together.
--By A Cricket Analyst