Match 17 IPL 2017 (2017-04-15) @ Bangalore (MCS)
Royal Challengers Bangalore won both the matches between these two sides last season. RCB are currently rated 88 on the Cricsq ratings with RPS 12 points behind them on 76.
Pune started their campaign beating Mumbai when Steve Smith helped them chase down 184. They lost their next 3 matches against KXIP, Delhi and the Lions. There batting is not firing and their bowling apart from Tahir looks terribly weak.
RCB are also struggling with 1 win from 4. The balance of the side looked better with Kohli returning to side against Mumbai. They failed to get enough runs but almost pulled off an unlikely victory thanks to Badree's bowling. They should consider dropping Gayle and bringing in either Jordon or Stanlake to strengthen the bowling.
The pitch in Bangalore looked much harder to bat on last match. It will be interesting to see how it plays this time. It usually favors the team batting second but not enough to justify basing a bet around it.
Pune have look terrible the last 3 matches but I am backing them to turn things around against RCB who are rated 12 points ahead of them. The reason for this is the odds. Pune are currently trading at around 2.4 on Betfair which is the value bet. Given how they are playing the 1.7 price on RCB is just too short.
RCB now have their full strongest batting line-up available. AB de Villiers was their star batsmen in his first match back but was slow against Mumbai only managing 19 off 21 balls. Gayle was also slow getting 22 off 27.
Virat Kohli scored 62 off 47 balls on his return. Back in the opening slot he should be given a solid start to the innings on a regular basis. RCB have the option of moving Mandeep Singh back up to open and dropping Gayle. This would open the way for Watson or Stanlake to return to the side or Jordan to be given a chance.
Kedar Jadhav started strongly in the first 2 matches but he has only managed 1 and 9 in the last 2 games. RCB need him to return to form. If Watson returns he would strengthen the middle order. The lack of runs from Binny and the tail means that it is up to specialist batsmen to score the bulk of RCB's runs.
Badree took 5 for 9 in his 4 overs against Mumbai. This set up has a high chance of them defending the low total of 142 that they set. Aavind also bowled well keeping up the pressure going for 21 off his 4 overs.
The other bowlers struggled. The usually economical Chahal went for over 10 an over. Mills went for 9 an over and Negi bowled 2 overs for 28.
RCB moved to playing 2 overseas bowlers by introducing Stanlake after the first match. Badree will play again after his performance against Mumbai. Mills adds skill at the end of the innings and has taken 3 wickets. The problem is he has gone for over 9 an over. Stanlake has gone for 8.75 an over and Watson 10 an over. With the quick bowlers struggling an opportunity could be given to Chris Jordan.
Pune's batting is strong on paper. The top 6 that played against the Lions was Rahane, Tripathi, Smith, Stokes, Tiwary and Dhoni. Dhoni and Rahane were out cheaply but all the others got starts but failed to make a big score.
Stokes, Rahane and Smith have all got 50s at one point in the first 4 matches. Pune needs two of them to score in the same game for them to consistently compete and win matches.
The form of Dhoni is a concern. For a player of his caliber scores of 12, 5, 11 and 5 are just not good enough. He needs time at the crease and a big score to get his IPL season started.
It would be good to see Stokes start to dominate the bowlers more. I think he is batting too high in the order. It would be better to see him come in and get some quick runs once a solid base to the innings has been built.
Pune's bowling has been horrible this season.
The overseas bowlers have struggled, apart from Imran Tahir. He has taken 7 wickets but has cost 8.4 an over. Zampa has gone for 10 an over, Stokes 8.5 an over, Ferguson 11 an over and Christian 11.5 an over. Stokes will obviously play but it is hard to pick a second overseas bowler as they have all been so poor. One option Pune have is to pick an overseas batsman instead.
Most of the Indian bowlers have also been expensive. Dinda has managed just 1 wicket and gone for almost 12 an over. Deepak Chahar went for 11.2 an over in the match he played in.
Rajat Bhatia and Rahul Chahar have both been more economical. The pace bowler Shardul Thakur bowled well on his debut for Pune against the Lions. He took 1 for 14 off 3 overs. He should be picked again.
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