After posting two stunning come-from-behind victories in their two opening games, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) travel to Indore to take on Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), who have also begun their campaign impressively.
Ben Stokes, the most-expensive signing at the IPL Player Auction 2018, hasn't been in the best of batting form recently, but RR will hope he can start hitting a few balls out of the park soon. Then came AB de Villiers who changed the course of the game.
Between the two teams, Bangalore hold the edge, despite winning just two of the six matches against their opponents of the morrow at this venue. He got the wicket of risky Brendon McCullum at Mujib ur Rahim on the second ball of the second over. The Holkar Stadium in Indore is the second home ground for KXIP in the tournament, and R Ashwin will be looking to register victory against his former team.
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In the last match Kings XI, Punjab's scored 155 runs at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. The wicketkeeper missed out on his 50 by five runs.
Spin was clearly a factor in the game: Washington was in fine form himself, while R. Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman both got the ball to grip and turn.
It goes both ways: Kings XI skipper Ravichandran Ashwin remains one of the hardest spinners to pick in the world, and now with a leg-spinner added to his repertoire he looms as a major player in the IPL. However, he and Mandeep Singh struggled to score. It didn't help that D'Arcy Short, twice run out after single-digit scores, hasn't lived up to his Big Bash League billing either. The required run rate rose from 8.5 at the end of the 12th over to 10.25 at the end of the 16th over, with RCB needing 41 runs from 24 balls.
The run chase, although modest, started badly when New Zealand's Brendon McCullum was out for a golden duck off Axar Patel's second ball, while 17-year-old Afghanistan offspinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman got the prize wicket of the prolific Virat Kohli (21). But with de Villiers still there, the RCB had the batsman who can do the job. Punjab had just two stands of 32 and 58 while RCB had a couple of fifty run partnerships in the middle overs and a 32-run stand at the top. His 40-ball innings was laced with two boundaries and four sixes. AB de Villiers and Mandeep Singh rained sixes to pull the rug from under the Kings' feet. But it was may be too late for KXIP to recover and Washington Sundar took the responsibility of finishing the game.