Bowling is supposedly Bangalore’s strengths. The last time around,their formula of suffocating the batsmen for runs with a good line and length, combining it with some tight fielding. Steyn is the key here, with the ability to pick up wickets in a hurry, to set it up for Kumble, and allow the likes of Vinay Kumar, Merwe to bowl to their field. Strangely, they opted not to open with him in the first game, and when he did finally come on, he looked extremely off color. Praveen seems adequate, and Kumble will deliver. What might help is if they sit one of the turks (perhaps Uthappa?) down and bring in Sriram/White to shore up the bowling a bit, with their all-round abilities.
Thus, possibly 1 change – sitting out Uthappa for possibly Sriram/Vinay Kumar.
Kings XI Punjab:
For a while in the first game, Punjab were actually in it. Slappedsanth Sreesanth was getting the ball to shape dangerously, and with Piyush and Powar, there was more than a good chance against Delhi. Unfortunately, the spin duo utterly flopped. This would be addressed today. The important bit is the consistency of Sreesanth and Abdulla (who’d probably sit out when Lee’s fit). Sreesanth, Abdulla and Pathan hold fort, I’d wagar that Piyush and Powar would make it count this game.
I anticipate no changes.
Here’s the real problem for Bangalore. Even without Jesse Ryder, most of their frontline batsmen appeared drunk attempting some of those shots. Why did Dravid play so low down the order? I understand Kohli’s recent ODI success might have warranted that move, but with all due respect, Dravid is still twice the player Kohli is , right now, and has proven his adaptability. Goswami, Kohli and Pandey must step up their game and take pressure off Kallis.
The challenge is to fill up Taylor’s very large shoes. Eoin Morgan is the chosen one here, and it might bode well to give him a few more chances.Uthappa can be very dangerous on his day, but he blows hot and cold too often for my liking, and his keeping skills (or lack of it) doesn’t warrant him an automatic starting spot. Consistency is what RCB need. Perhaps trying out Sriram/ Vinay Kumar in his place, to add some back up to the batting / bowling options respectively might help.
1 Change expected – Vinay Kumar in place of Uthappa (or Goswami) as mentioned before. I chose Uthappa because Goswami is the better keeper.
Kings XI Punjab:
KEP have a great batting line-up on paper. Bopara has been in decent touch, and with Sanga, Jayawardene, Yuvi to follow, that looks dangerous indeed. In the first game though, the middle order completely failed to fire, but this shouldn’t be cause for concern yet. Punjab will be hoping that the big guns find their touch. Lower down the order, Irfan, Kaif and Chawla are all capable of using the long handle to good effect. A wonderful addition would be James Hopes , the stocky all-rounder, but who would sit out then? Bopara can’t be justified, Sangakkara is the skipper, Jayawardene would warrant another chance. The fall guy could be Abdulla, who didn’t fare too badly in the first game, but it can be reasonable to expect Hopes to replicate that bowling performance while shoring up the batting some more.
RCB: Kallis, Goswami, Dravid, Pandey, Kohli, Morgan, RVDM, Praveen Kumar, Kumble, Steyn , Vinay Kumar
Punjab: Bopara, Bisla, Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Yuvi, Kaif, Pathan, Hopes, Piyush, Powar, Sreesanth
RCB Bowling vs KEP Batting: EVEN
Strength on Strength. If Steyn’s on target, he can expose the top order quite quickly and get the likes of Jayawardene, Sangakkara in faster than planned. However, the middle order of Punjab has enough quality to match with the best of Bangalore.
KEP Bowling vs RCB Batting: SLIGHT ADVANTAGE KINGS XI PUNJAB
Historically, Bangalore tends to score lower than the average totals, and this won’t be any exception. If Slappedsanth Sreesanth finds his rhythm, he can pose a problem to the top order and set it up for the spinners. I’m expecting Dravid and Kohli to play a greater role today, but acceleration against the bowling line up that Punjab has will be a little tough.
KEP should win on paper, but I am going to go with the upset here and pick RCB! Go KUMBLE AND DRAVID!