Speculations are rife that Chris Gayle, who this time around will step out in KXIP jersey could open the innings since he's familiar with the conditions, having played for RCB since season four of the IPL featuring in 85 matches, scoring over 3000 runs at an impressive strike of 151.20. He picked Mayank with a fast full delivery which was caught by the flying Quinny and in the very next ball he picked up the risky Finch with a quick incoming delivery trapping him in front of the wicket.
On Friday, KXIP threatened to run away with the game when he removed Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh in one over, beating them with pace and accuracy. Two balls later, he splattered Yuvraj's timber as the Punjab southpaw failed to come forward and was exposed.
The Aussie Pack: All of the Aussies featured on the losing side, with Aaron Finch's long-awaited return to the IPL over quickly, trapped in front from the very first ball he faced.
For a win at home against the in-form Dhoni's side, Punjab's batting department needs to fire. "Bowlers were also able to get some purchase and it was good for batting as well".
Karun Nair and Marcus Stoinis followed suit soon as Punjab started to lose wicket in a head during the middle overs. It took a skipper's knock of 33 (21b, 3x4, 1x6) by R Aswhin to push them past 150.
But it was totally unexpected that KXIP could really make a match out of such small total. RCB finished second best in a cliffhanger to Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday after Sunil Narine snatched victory with a 17-ball 50. De Kock looked in outstanding touch as he made great use of his footwork to flay the Punjab bowling.
De Villiers and opener Quinton de Kock (45) then forged a crucial 54-run partnership for the third wicket before in-form de Kock was sent packing by Ravichandran Ashwin in the 12th over. The following ball, Ashwin turned legspinner and got Sarfaraz in the slip. But then Bangalore struck through Washington Sundar and Kulwant Khejroliya to peg Punjab back. Being the #3 is especially big, as he'll get more balls to get himself in.de Villiers has had his problems against spin, left-arm spin in particular, and Axar Patel might exploit that. They defended the revised target of 71 runs in six overs by restricting the DD to 60 runs. Ashwin, however, gave just one run in the over. In the next over, de Villiers deposited Mohit Sharma into upper tier and with that, he brought up his fifty. Billings is an exciting batsman capable of hitting big sixes, and that makes him the ideal Fantasy League option. But it was may be too late for KXIP to recover and Washington Sundar took the responsibility of finishing the game.