Who, when, where
Punjab Kings v Royal Challengers Bangalore, 11am BST, Thursday 20 April 2023, Mohali
The Kings will go into this fixture on the back of a solid win over the Lucknow Super Giants. Punjab won that match without captain Shikhar Dhawan, who had been sidelined by injury, but it’s anticipated he’ll be back for this one. That should relieve Sam Curran of the stand-in captaincy. He can return to focus on his primary roles with bat and ball. Debate, meanwhile, continues around whether Punjab are batting the England all-rounder too low in the order. The Royal Challengers lost a high-scoring affair against the Chennai Super Kings recently. That would have really hurt, but Virat Kohli and company need to bounce back quickly if they want to remain in contention for a maiden IPL title. As ever, Bangalore need more from their batting resources outside of Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and Faf du Plessis. They can’t always rely on the star trio for big runs. Dinesh Karthik could be the man to fix that problem here.
The Punjab Kings have won four of their last five outings with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Interestingly, the team that bats first in this head-to-head contest usually wins.
Stars to watch
Sikandar Raza performed well with bat and ball for Punjab against the Super Giants. The Zimbabwean all-rounder brings a lot to this Kings unit – and he’ll probably be key for them again this time. As much as Bangalore need to deliver a more all-round performance with the bat, their bowlers also need to be taking wickets. Sri Lanka leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga brings a threatening dynamic to the Bangalore bowling attack.
Punjab look in the best shape to win here. Bangalore’s best ambitions are not materialising – and they will do particularly well to reach the play-off stage of the tournament from here on in.
Punjab Kings to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore
Wayne Parnell to be top Bangalore bowler
Sikandar Raza to be top Punjab batsman
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