RCB are still alive in the 2019 IPL, it’s a miracle! Well, not quite a miracle just yet given they have to win all their remaining matches to qualify for the playoffs, but it’s a start. With Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the team, you’d be a fool to rule it out completely. They’ll play host to a sliding-Kings XI Punjab who are starting to lose traction and must win this game to stay in the playoffs race.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
A win against the Chennai Super Kings has given RCB the belief that they can beat anyone when they’re at their best, and all of a sudden Virat Kohli is on a mission to achieve the unthinkable. If it wasn’t for their appalling start to the tournament, Bangalore would’ve been right up there with the Capitals and Super Kings. What’s done is done, and RCB appear to be focussing on the now. Virat scored a trademark-century at the Eden Gardens a couple games ago which seems to have reignited the whole side, even Moeen Ali has been in rare-touch with the willow striking it out of the park regularly! A more-than-handy half century from Parthiv Patel in RCB’s last match made up for Virat’s early dismissal, he’ll continue to manipulate the ball at the top of the order as best he can. Last but not least, the return of AB de Villiers after sitting out in Kolkata due to concussion is set to make life a whole lot more difficult for opposition bowlers, 332 runs form nine matches ain’t bad!
Proteas veteran Dale Steyn put on a fast bowling master class against the Super Kings as he dismissed arguably the oppositions two most damaging batsmen in Watson and Raina. Steyn has already had a major-influence in the team picking up 2/40 & 2/29 in his first two appearances of the 2019 IPL. They breed them tough in South Africa, and Steyn is no exception. After a bit of trial and error with a couple bowlers, it’s likely that RCB will now stick with Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav and Dale Steyn as their three specialist seamers. Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is nothing to worry about, he’ll have a couple of quiet games and all of a sudden pop-up with a handful of wickets and influence the game. All-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Moeen Ali can also offer some handy overs, Kohli’s got plenty of options up his sleeve.
Kings XI Punjab
A handful of teams grouped in the middle of the points table have encountered a few rough patches, Kings XI Punjab is one of them. They’ve managed a couple wins in their last five games, but that’s not enough to consolidate a spot in the playoffs which begs the question, do they have what it takes? While it’s blatantly-obvious that Chris Gayle is in scintillating-form with his big chunk of willow, his teammates aren’t in the same time zone as the big man at the moment. Mayank Agarwal who started IPL 2019 superbly and David Miller have been far-too inconsistent, it’s been up to KL Rahul and Gayle to smash them out of trouble. At the ripe old age of 39, Chris Gayle is still averaging 52.62 in this seasons IPL and sits third on the list for the leading run-scorers with 421. KL Rahul isn’t far behind with 399 runs, but the pair can’t be relied upon to do all the hard work by themselves. There contributions aren’t resulting in regular wins either, that’s the biggest concern.
The decision to drop Arshdeep Singh after taking two wickets on debut for another debutante in Harpreet Brar was a questionable one, and although he scored 20 runs with the bat he failed to have any influence with the ball which is what he was brought into the team for. Mohammed Shami once again showed his class with the ball conceding just 21 runs from his four overs including the wicket of Delhi’s Colin Ingram, he’s been a much-improved bowler in this year’s IPL with 13 wickets. Lack of wickets was once again the issue for Kings XI, South Africa’s Hardus Viljoen returned to the side and picked up 2/39, but that was about it. They can’t afford not to take wickets against a team like RCB featuring the likes of Kohli, de Villiers and Ali, they’ll get eaten alive. Skipper Ravi Ashwin hasn’t really dominated with the ball at any stage in the tournament yet, so where are the wickets going to come from? There’ been no update on the injuries of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Moises Henriques, but it’s unlikely they’ll make a return anytime soon.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Virat Kohli
- AB de Villiers
- Dale Steyn
- Yuzvendra Chahal
Wildcard pick – Marcus Stoinis
Top 4 fantasy picks – Kings XI Punjab
- Chris Gayle
- KL Rahul
- Ravi Ashwin
- David Miller
Wildcard pick – Hardus Viljoen
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Parthiv Patel (wk) 2. Virat Kohli (c) 3. AB de Villiers 4. Akshdeep Nath 5. Moeen Ali 6. Marcus Stoinis 7. Pawan Negi 8. Umesh Yadav 9. Dale Steyn 10. Navdeep Saini 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
Kings XI Punjab (possible) – 1. KL Rahul (wk) 2. Chris Gayle 3. Mayank Agarwal 4. Karun Nair/Sarfaraz Khan 5. David Miller 6. Mandeep Singh 7. Ravi Ashwin (c) 8. Hardus Viljoen 9. Harpreet Brar/Arshdeep Singh 10. Murugan Ashwin 11. Mohammed Shami.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.