Royal Challengers better placed in race to playoffs; teetering Kings search for balance

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It’s not just cricket anymore. It’s mathematics.

At the core of it all, the equation for Punjab Kings is pretty simple – they need to win their remaining games to stay in with a chance of making the playoffs. As for Royal Challengers Bangalore, they are already in the top four with 14 points, but their poor net run rate leaves them with less room to work with. They still need two wins to be assured of qualification.

Likely XIs

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Faf du Plessis (capt), 2 Virat Kohli, 3 Rajat Patidar, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Shahbaz Ahmed, 6 Mahipal Lomror, 7 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Punjab Kings: 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Mayank Agarwal (capt), 4 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Rishi Dhawan, 8 Rahul Chahar, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Arshdeep Singh, 11 Sandeep Sharma

  • Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli have fallen to Sandeep Sharma a combined nine times and to Kagiso Rabada on six occasions in T20 cricket. That could perhaps be best new-ball combination for Kings.
  • Both Shikhar Dhawan and Bairstow have been quiet against Wanindu Hasaranga, having a strike rate of 85 and 67 respectively in T20 cricket. With Liam Livingstone and Bhanuka Rajapaksa having superior strike rates against the legspinner, there could be a case for Royal Challengers to open the bowling with Hasaranga and Josh Hazlewood.

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