Deadline: April 30, 7:30 PM IST
This is one of the most awaited contests, not because there’s any rivalry between the teams but their jerseys are strikingly similar. Bangalore have always worn the same colours, but Punjab have moved on from silver to gold and coincidently ended up copying Bangalore’s attire—and to some extent, their results from the past seasons.
What’s not similar is their performance. Bangalore have won 4 of 6 matches, while Punjab have managed 2 wins in as many games.
Chris Gayle has not been at his best yet, and if Punjab want a calm mind and an in-form batsman at No. 3, Dawid Malan seems to be a better option. He, after all, is the No. 1 batsman in ICC T20I Rankings.
Punjab: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Dawid Malan, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Moises Henriques/Fabian Allen, Shahrukh Khan/Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Washington Sundar, Kyle Jamieson, Daniel Sams, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on recent performances, impact, and credit points.
Aggression vs overthinking
It’s the same old story with KL Rahul’s batting. He tries to hold the innings together, but it comes at an expense of an ordinary strike rate. What’s worse is that it isn’t his natural brand of cricket. He likes to break free and not get bogged down with responsibilities. Although Mayank Agarwal has tried to make amends, the duo has not fired in tandem yet. Perhaps they have to stop worrying and cut loose.
On the other hand, Devdutt Padikkal bats the way exactly Rahul likes to. His 188 runs have come at a strike rate of 154. Virat Kohli has been blowing hot and cold, but he has been batting without any worries.
On a wicket that has everything the batsmen could ask for, the opening partnerships will set the tone for both teams.
The pitch at Ahmedabad is an absolute belter, especially in the second innings. Last night, Prithvi Shaw smashed 6 fours in the first over and eventually went on to score 82 runs at a strike rate of 200.
However, the batsmen haven’t been the only one to have a good time here: there is some turn on offer for the spinners. Axar Patel and Lalit Yadav picked 4 of 6 wickets. Reading the batsmen’s footwork is the key.
Bangalore have the belligerence of Glenn Maxwell in the middle overs and the creativity of AB de Villiers at the death. Punjab do not have such luxuries. Nicholas Pooran has looked out of sorts and their lower middle-order lacks experience.
For Punjab to win, they will have to bowl out of their skin or wait for Bangalore to play uncharacteristic shots.
Kohli and ABD have faced troubles against leg-spinners. Ravi Bishnoi has been preferred over M Ashwin lately, but the latter has a better record against the Bangalore duo. Playing both wrist-spinners won’t be a bad option either, but it can come at a cost of an unreasonable economy.