Kings XI Punjab will be hoping that Chris Gayle fires on his much-awaited return and they, for once, put up a complete performance in their must-win game against a high-flying Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Thursday.
The inability to produce an all-round show and close out games they should have won has led to KXIP losing six out of their seven matches.
But KXIP can take confidence from the fact their only win in the tournament has come against RCB, who look a much more potent squad since their last meeting on September 24.
Though the Sharjah wicket has been slowing gradually, the smaller ground dimensions are ideal for someone like Gayle to go on a six-hitting spree.
However, it certainly won’t be easy for the 41-year-old to get going from ball one, having not played earlier in the competition.
He would have played the last two games but could not due to food poisoning. Having recovered fully, it will be interesting to see who he replaces in the side.
Benching a yet to fire Glenn Maxwell is one option or the team can bring Gayle at the expense of an overseas bowler and replace him with the available Indian talent.
KXIP are languishing at the bottom of the table despite having the top-two leading run-getters of the tournament in skipper K L Rahul (387 at strike rate of 134.84) and his opening partner Mayank Agarwal (337 at 48.14).
Not being able to find the right balance despite trying out many options has also contributed to KXIP’s rapid slide.
They run into a RCB squad which has grown in confidence by leaps and bounds since their last meeting.
For the first time in many years, they seem to have fixed their bowling woes.
RCB’s last game against KKR was also on this ground, so they come into the game more aware of the gradually changing conditions than KXIP, who played here last on September 27 when the surface was much better to bat on.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel (wk), Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Pawan Negi, Isuru Udana, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Pavan Deshpande, Adam Zampa.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP): Lokesh Rahul, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen, Simran Singh.
Match starts 7.30 PM IST.
IPL 2020 RCB vs KXIP LIVE: Where to catch RCB vs KXIP Live Streaming ?
The match between RCB vs KXIP will be live broadcasted on Star Sports Network in the Indian Subcontinent.
The RCB vs KXIP will also be Live Streamed on Disney+ Hotstar.
IPL 2020 Fans can also catch the RCB vs KXIP Live Score & Ball by Ball Updates on