It will be a battle of survival for the two national captains as Virat Kohli’s struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore square off against a fledgling Pune Supergiants led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in an IPL encounter for the bottom-rung teams in Bengaluru today.
With five defeats in seven games, RCB are currently placed at a lowly seventh spot in the table with four points while Pune are just a notch above in sixth spot courtesy their third win against Delhi Daredevils, yesterday.
It has been a tough journey for the two superstars of Indian cricket as their franchises have dished one disappointing performance after another.
RCB with perhaps the most intimidating batting line-ups has had to taste defeat because of a pedestrian bowling attack that has failed to defend 180 plus scores in most of the matches.
Skipper Kohli, who is in form of his life, is leading the run-getters list with 433 runs to his credit with a century and four 50 plus scores at a whopping average of 72.16. AB de
Villiers with 320 runs is also in the Top-10 list but the problem has been their bowling.
Their two best performers Shane Watson and Yuzvendra Chahal with 9 and 5 wickets respectively have an economy rate of 8.60 and 8.89 to show for their efforts.
In fact, none of the RCB bowlers have an economy rate of less than eight runs per over.
It is expected that England seamer Chris Jordan, who put up some exceptionally good performances at the death during the last ICC World T20 will be coming into the playing XI
giving Kohli, the respite he needs at the opening and during the death overs.
For Dhoni and his men, they will like to think that the win against Daredevils will boost their morale after four defeats at their home ground in Pune.
Spate of injuries leading to return of Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh has hampered Dhoni’s plans but he will get some relief with the joining of
Usman Khawaja, who made 30 in his IPL debut. Khawaja and former Australian captain George Bailey can add the filip that the Sanjeev Goenka-owned team desperately needs.
Although Dhoni did not finish the match, his two sixes did go a long way in helping Thisara Perera finish off the match. With the team needing to win each and every match, Dhoni and his boys know very well that they cannot afford any slip ups at this stage of the tournament.