Dubai: There could be some fireworks in store as an upbeat Royal Challengers Bangalore line up against the Kings XI Punjab in Thursday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The impact created by the exciting opener Devdutt Padikkal in his first game left a lasting impression on Aaron Finch – Australia’s white ball captain. Finch was among those who were in awe and praised the young Padikkal’s hitting feast in RCB’s opening win against the Sunrisers Hyderabad last Sunday.
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“Brilliant young player, he (Padikkal) has shown it over the last couple of years in domestic cricket, U-19 cricket, how talented he is and how destructive he could be at the top of the order. I loved opening with him,” Finch admitted later.
“He is such an exciting young player. My advice is to play your natural game and if you are feeling it against the particular bowler, keep going. Play nice and smart, and then my role changes a little bit,” Finch said in his post-match conference.
The former U-19 Indian player from Karnataka gave a majestic batting display with strokes all around the wicket to score a sparkling 56 runs at a strike-rate of 133.3 and impress his opening partner Finch.
Mike Hesson, RCB’s Director of Cricket, sumeatmed things up well after their win against SRH. “This was a collective effort. We’ve shown that we were never out of the game and that we will always find a way out,” he said.
Virat Kohli, the talismanic skipper, was closer to the truth. “Needing 43 runs off the last five overs in the past and perhaps we would have dropped our shoulders a bit. But here we were giving ourselves the chance of going through with it,” he said.
The KXIP, on the other hand, will have to be wiser from the lessons learnt following their opening game loss. The Kings and Delhi Capitals could not be separated after 20 overs the other night in Dubai last Sunday and ultimately, the efforts of Mohammad Shami and Mayank Agarwal both went in vain.
Playing their second match of IPL 2020, both the KXIP and RCB franchises are yet to lift the trophy. The last time they met in 2019, RCB won by 17 runs in a high-scoring match. But since then, there have been changes in the set-up of both teams with KXIP looking far more threatening than in the past.
There is no doubt that skipper KL Rahul is a class act and it is left to be seen is how he shapes up as a leader. Alongwith with top-class players like Chris Gayle (who was dropped in the first game), Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran and Shami in the ranks, it is left up to the Kings to find their rhythm and the winning touch in this campaign.
Catch the match
Kings XI Punjab vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Start: 6 pm UAE
Live telecast on Bein Sports