The Final Surge – Game breakers

Match#47: Royal Challengers Bangalore v/s Kings XI Punjab
 
M Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore

Form Guide: RCB- Win, Loss, Loss, Loss, Draw, Win, Win, Win,
                         KXIP- Loss, Win, Win, Win, Loss, Loss, Loss,

The last time a team played after more than a week of inactivity, they promptly lost all momentum and went on to lose 3 in a row. And still counting. Coincidentally, that team was the Kings XI.

Now it will be RCB’s turn to conjure some form and momentum out of thin air. It is cruel to be kept away from action, especially after 3 wins on the bounce- with Gayle and Kohli playing like long lost brothers from another mother- and Bangalore will look to disprove the laws of physics with another dominating performance that nullifies the banal leadership skills the team is blessed with.

On the other hand, Gilchrist has been in this sinking situation before- with Deccan. He whimpered away with his tail between his legs on one occasion, and came back to pull off a ‘prestige’ over most teams next year and win the title hands down. That may seem unlikely this year, with Valthaty fast losing the steam that kept him rolling for 3 games- and Marsh often looking like a KJo-inspired-Orphan in a PTA meeting (read dramatically out of place)

When these two teams meet at Bangalore today, Vettori will be looking to justify the owner’s tomb raiding skills (DD, anyone?) and make an inevitable surge into the top 4 of an annoyingly-close contender field.

It is still not too late for the Kings XI- but one more loss could still mean a vast improvement from last year’s performance.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: (Finals 2009, Semi finals 2010)

With Virat Kohli playing hide-and-seek for the Orange Cap (also known as the cap on Mahela’s aching head) with none other than SRT, his commitment to RCB (for 4 years- that is 1/6th of the boy’s life) may finally reap great rewards if they manage to make the knockouts for the 3rd consecutive year running.



An Aussie a day keeps Yash Chopra away!

Also, it will not be lost on him that after a seemingly-unconvincing World Cup performance- this purple patch will be much appreciated because of the perennial IPL-induced pressure by a certain Rohit Sharma. That both of them will make the Caribbean-bound one-day squad should be a great shootout- with Raina close in on the action.

With RCB having risen from the depths of disillusionment and intoxication after a sober dressing room speech by Vijay Mallya, this game against a struggling squad should encourage them to turn on the style and give Shane Warne some dry nightmares.

The first 3 spots, one way or the other, will almost certainly be occupied by MI, KKR and CSK- and it might just be down to RCB and RR to battle it out for a solitary spot.

The best part is that Dilshan is finally registering double-digit scores- and he will leave the squad on May 10th shortly after hitting his IPL peak. Zak, if not anyone else, deserved the week’s rest and will look to prove his T20 capabilities before one can say ‘wedding bells’.

Player to watch out for: AB De Villiers

After a dry spell by his standards, the future SA captain will look to snatch every opportunity he gets- not unlike a hungry Rohit Sharma in the MI line-up with both of them coming at 4 after the two orange cappers of the tournament. Hard act to follow, but AB is in a class of his own- until he runs himself out.

Kings XI Punjab: (Semi finals 2008)

Do-or-die time for Adam Gilchrist and his troops. With Valthaty fast displaying his inexperience at this level combined with a dogged pursuit of all that is short and wide- the Kings XI need to find inspiration from all quarters if they are to move further.



Freelancing is the way to go, maaan

With their bowlers finally coming to the after-party (Chawla picked two. Enough said. Forget economy rate. Babysteps.), it was their batsmen that crumbled under pressure, inspite of being the ONLY team in the league with the mighty presence of 4 Australians- past, present and future stars of various shapes and sizes.

Oh, they aren’t World Champions anymore. Keeps slipping my mind.

Of course, Preity Zinta seems to have a lot of faith in Australian cricket. Just saying.

Praveen Kumar and Ryan Harris, as commanders-in-chiefs of this deceptively strong bowling line-up, will need to lead from the front and be a little more consistent- and promptly forget that they possess a World-Cup Winning spinner within their ranks.

Facing a rampaging RCB team may just be what they need in order to prove a point and slam home their reputation of the most unpredictable and explosive team of this year’s IPL (also known as no-hopers living on a wing and a prayer)

Player to watch out for: David Hussey

The younger of the ageless Hussey brothers, David will look to emulate the dogged determination of the older Hussey- and prove his credentials as the better (and more complete) T20 player of the two. Oh, and also help his team win a few more games.

That he blew a golden opportunity against Mumbai by playing a shot that is now a representation of the current state of Australian cricket- will be on his mind. It is still not too late.

Prediction:

A Kings XI victory would be great for the league- and they are due anyway. With the mellow Marsh continuously setting the stage alight with his brilliant losing-cause-knocks, it is only a matter of time before the Kings take over the Royal family.

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