Royal Challengers Bangalore got off to a win in their IPL 2020 campaign by pulling off a thriller against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Virat Kohli-led team has had some plugs to be fixed but on Thursday, they could run through the Kings XI Punjab.
On the other hand, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will be frustrated after losing a humdinger in their season opener of IPL 2020 against Delhi Capitals (DC) as the game ended in a super-over . In Super Over, DC won the match and then a controversy blew over a short-run call by the on-field umpire which if overturned would have potentially seen KXIP win the match.
RCB, in the last two seasons has managed to thump the Kings XI on all four instances. The Punjab franchise will be looking to end that streak when then take the field against RCB at the Dubai International stadium. With the stakes high, we take a look at the 3 key player battles that can pan out tonight
KL Rahul vs Mohammed Shami
The flamboyant KXIP skipper, KL Rahul played a crucial role in his team’s batting outfit last year. His stunning numbers in 2019 reveal the kind of impact he had on the tournament — 593 runs at a strike rate of 135.38. He would look to carry on from where he left off last year. While he was equally dangerous against pace and spin last year, his battle against slow bowlers on UAE surfaces would be interesting to watch.
Apart from being genuinely quick, Shami will be playing the role of a wicket-taker. He claimed 77 wickets in international cricket in 2019. In IPL 2019, Mohammed Shami had picked up 19 scalps at a strike rate of 17.05. He will be looking forward to making an impact for sure.
Glenn Maxwell vs Yuzvendra Chahal
On most occasions, Yuzvendra Chahal bowling to Glenn Maxwell will end up with the leg-spinner picking up the wicket of the Australian and same is seen in the IPL. Chahal has bowled 24 balls in the league thus far against Maxwell conceding just 21 runs and dismissed him three times. Chahal got hit for a six but has bowled 10 dot balls in the 24 deliveries against the swashbuckling batter.
Maxwell’s battle with Yuzvendra Chahal promises to be an enthralling one as the latter has often been seen fooling the all-rounder more often than not. Chahal is one of the best bowlers in the middle overs, and Maxwell will have to bat at his sensible best to unsettle Chahal.
Virat Kohli vs Dale Steyn
One of the best limited-overs batsmen, Virat will be facing one of the finest modern-day pacers, Mohammed Shami and it promises a lot on paper. The RCB skipper could not do much with the bat in the tournament opener against SRH, so he would be keen to get some runs on the board. Kohli has an excellent IPL record and on the other hand, Shami was the highest wicket-taker for his team in the opening game.
The pitches at venues in the Middle-East make shot-making slightly more difficult, which is why someone like Dale Steyn might trouble the KXIP opener. Rahul is leading an IPL franchise for the first time and he managed to keep his composure, it can be a huge blessing for the Punjab-based franchise.