It is not all over for Royal Challengers Bangalore like the hosts Pune Warriors India. After two straight wins which included the thumping of Mumbai Indians at their home ground on Wednesday, Bangalore has strengthened their position in the points table. The visitors are still on the hunt for the play-off stage while for Pune, the script has ended.
Presently, Bangalore are being led by stand-in skipper Virat Kohli in place of regular captain Daniel Vettori. Kohli once again might be leading the team on Friday and if Vettori comes in, they would have to sit out Muttiah Muralitharan to accommodate him. But Vettori will not try to change the winning combination. Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan are the strength of Bangalore’s batting and are in good form in the current edition. Moreover, Kohli, who struggled at the start, seems to have found his lost touch in the last match against Mumbai. Muralitharan and Vinay Kumar are the leading wicket takers for them but the medium-fast bowler with an economy of 8.91 looks to be bit expensive.
Pune on the other hand had a good start in the tournament after they defeated Mumbai, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings, but the team failed to continue with the winning momentum. They are now in the tournament just as a participating side and on Friday they will be only playing to redeem their lost pride.
With two back-to-back wins, Bangalore have climbed to the fourth place, while Pune would look to upset their run.
Sourav Ganguly has tried to lead from the front, but his own bat has remained calm and there are chances he may opt to sit out of the remaining matches, which makes Michael Clarke as an obvious choice. Before getting injured, Jesse Ryder was in a good nick with the bat by guiding the team to a win against Chennai and Delhi but his injury has hurt the team’s run in the later part of this season.
On the bowling front, Ashok Dinda has led the attack well with nine wickets and ably supported by Ashish Nehra and Wayne Parnell.
With Bangalore picking up at the right time, it would be a challenge for Pune to upset their march further in the tournament. However, the herculean task upfront for the home team would be to keep the big-hitting trio of Gayle, Dilshan and de Villiers under check.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 AB de Villiers, 3 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 4 Chris Gayle, 5 Virat Kohli (capt), 6 KP Appanna, 7 Abhimanyu Mithun, 8 Muttiah Muralitharan, 9 Syed Mohammad, 10 R Vinay Kumar, 11 Zaheer Khan,
Pune Warriors India: 1 Sourav Ganguly (capt), 2 Michael Clarke, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Mithun Manhas, 5 Steven Smith, 6 Anustup Majumdar, 7 Angelo Mathews, 8 Murali Kartik, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Ashish Nehra, 11 Wayne Parnell