Mohali: The door is closing down slowly and gradually for Kings XI Punjab as they seek their fifth win of the season against a top-favourite Royal Challengers Bangalore in match 51 of the IPL 6 at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Monday.
Punjab are still quite a distant away from the top four and a win is a necessary tonic to make things easier for them. However, it might not be a walk in the park as Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians too are in the hunt.
Punjab have had an inconsistent run this year. With what is to be believed from their last few games, the team is putting up fighting performances but are somehow not able to cross the finish line. Batsmen seem to be in good nick, the bowlers are doing well and the fielding is upto the mark. Just a little bit of finetuning here and there in every department can likely take them to the play-offs.
Punjab's outing against table-toppers Chennai Super Kings was a spirited one. After giving away 180-odd runs, Punjab made a game out of it due to some sublime batting from Shaun Marsh and David Miller. Miller, especially has been in great touch and has scores of 51 not out and 56 in his last two innings and an unforgettable 80 not out that snatched a victory away from the Pune Warriors.
Stand-in skipper David Hussey, who is in-charge of the team after Adam Gilchrist opted to sit out following a string of poor scores. But Hussey has done reasonably well in the last few innings and has even contributed with the ball. With Marsh and Miller almost giving Chennai a run for their money, the team would like the two left-handers to continue the good work.
Bangalore, who finally broke their 'away' jinx in the game against Pune have quite easily been one of the teams to beat. With an emphatic batting line-up including the likes of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers, RCB's ability to put up or chase down a big total can never be underestimated. De Villiers, especially has been the ace whenever quick runs were needed.
With their bowlers doing a commendable job with the white ball, RCB haven't put a foot wrong in their promising show this season. Their bowling has recieved an extra boost with the services of the Aussie allrounder Moises Henriques. Vinay Kumar has contained the run-flow in the death overs and spinner Murali Kartik hasn't given away easy runs either. Seamers RP Singh and Ravi Rampaul would like to make the most of a seamer-friendly Mohali track.
Bangalore are just one win away from sealing their berth into the play-offs, whereas KXIP still need to win four out of their remaining six. With the form RCB is in, Punjab will need to get their acts together to come out on top.
Kings XI Punjab: 1 David Hussey (capt), 2 Gurkeerat Singh (wk), 3 Luke Pomersbach, 4 Shaun Marsh, 5 David Miller, 6 Mandeep Singh, 7 R Sathish, 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 Manpreet Gony, 10 Piyush Chawla, 11 Parvinder Awana
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Virat Kohli (capt), 2 Arun Kartik (wk), 3 Chris Gayle, 4 AB De Villiers, 5 Saurabh Tiwary, 6 Moises Henriques 7 KL Rahul, 8 Murali Kartik, 9 Ravi Rampaul, 10 RP Singh, 11 Vinay Kumar