Kings XI will look to open account against RCB

After falling prey to rain-god’s ire twice, a struggling Kings XI Punjab will hope for a better luck this time while Royal Challengers Bangalore will strive to get into the groove when the two teams cross swords in an Indian Premier League match on Friday.

Things are not really falling in place for the Punjab team, who are languishing at the bottom of the tally after losing first two encounters as the heavens opened up at crucial junctures on both the occasions forcing the umpires to apply the Duckworth-Lewis method.

The Yuvraj Singh-led side lost their campaign-opener against Delhi Daredevils by 10 wickets under laden sky before going down to the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders in another rain-truncated proceeding.

Although they are yet to open account a week into the IPL’s second edition, the Punjab team undoubtedly posses a mighty batting order, led by the stylish left-hander and poised to take on Bangalore’s bowling line-up consisting Protea paceman Dale Steyn and Kiwi all-rounder Jesse Ryder.

Yuvraj, who scored a brisk 28-ball 38 in last match against the Kolkata side, will also count upon Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara and his country-mate Mahela Jayawardene for some timely contributions.

Irfan Pathan who is chipping in well with his pinch hitting skills, will also have to join hands with Protea speedy Yusuf Abdulla to form the new-ball pair and scalp a couple of early wickets to stifle the opponent batting order.

On the other hand, Royal Challengers Bangalore started their journey in style by comprehensively beating defending Champions Rajasthan Royals by 75 runs, but since then are suffering from lack of consistency.

Skipper Kevin Pietersen will surely draw from his experience to recapture the form they showed in the first match.

Besides Pietersen, the onus of building the innings will also be on star South Africa all-rounder Jaques Kallis and Dravid, whose 48-ball 66 laid the cornerstone of Bangalore’s win against the Rajasthan Royals.

With the team management adamant on continuing with Robin Uthappa behind the sticks, instead of South African Mark Boucher, the Karnataka cricketer also has to play his bits as opening batsman to lay the foundation for a fighting total or to chase a stiff target.

Their bowling department did well in the first match skittling out Shane Warne-led team for a paltry 58, thanks to Anil Kumble’s five-for, but appeared a bit sluggish against the Chennai Super Kings since then.

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