The loss to Kolkata is yet to sink in but Bangalore have another stern test ahead when they take on a resurgent Punjab at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.
Punjab, for their part, will be aware they are up against a team that has been relatively dormant in the tournament so far. With the kind of talent at their disposal, Bangalore will be looking to hit back.
Although the hosts appear stronger on paper – they defeated Punjab in their away game – recent performances give Punjab the edge. After their away victory over Rajasthan, Bangalore have first been unlucky with their home game against Chennai being washed out. And despite Chris Gayle’s valiant 58-ball 86, they were left licking their wounds against Kolkata in their last tie.
Bangalore will be yet again banking on the in-form top-order trio of Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan and AB de Villiers to get them the runs, what with their Indian stars Virat Kohli, Saurabh Tiwary and Cheteswar Pujara have failed to do so far.
The form of the ‘foreign’ top-order means that skipper Daniel Vettori’s selection headaches continue. How to get his most effective bowler Muttiah Muralitharan to figure in the playing eleven is the question that must be bugging him no end. The bigger issue though is the form of his fellow bowlers, who have been largely expensive.
As for the visitors, while they may be handicapped due to the absence of their inspirational skipper Adam Gilchrist, who is still out with a hamstring tear, their top order is in decent touch. Shaun Marsh and Mandeep Singh have been awesome with the bat scoring 248 and 234 runs respectively for their team.
Should they continue to provide a good start, the likes of Azhar Mahmood and stand-in skipper David Hussey will certainly find ways to cash in on it. In the bowling department, pacer Parvinder Awana is easily the find for Punjab. He has displayed rare zeal to grab nine wickets from five games. Add the experience and consistency of Piyush Chawla (11 wickets) to it and Punjab is certainly a force to reckon with. There is more good news for the visitors as Aussie Ryan Harris has joined the squad.
For the fans though, while a victory for the home team would be most welcome, what they would want more is a game to watch and enjoy. They had thronged the stadium last time only to return disappointed without a ball being bowled.