Chris Gayle would love what Kings XI Punjab’s Manan Vohra had to say about the Holkar Stadium pitch here after their win over Rising Pune Supergiant. The KXIP opener hinted that anything less than 200 is below par here. (IPL 2017 Full coverage)
The tall Jamaican, who opens for Royal Challengers Bangalore, is yet to do justice to his pyrotechnics in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL). And a small ground like that in Indore would just be the perfect platform for him to set the stage on fire.
Gayle, who has hit five centuries since he joined the IPL bandwagon in 2009, failed to score at a consistent rate in 2016. His scores in two matches of the 2017 edition are 32 and 6.
The West Indies batsman has the record of scoring IPL’s highest individual score — 175*. But that was long back in 2013. In mundane form, and a batting wicket in front, Gayle would certainly be eager to go for the kill. He needs 25 more runs to be the first batsman to score 10,000 T20 runs.
The task is easier said than done as Kings XI Punjab bowlers gave a good account of themselves in their opening match against Rising Pune Supergiant.
The likes of Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Swapnil Singh and Axar Patel restricted the Steve Smith-led side to below 165 and set the base for a brilliant win. Marcus Stoinis also did well and Punjab are likely to persist with him against Bangalore as well.
Apart from Gayle, they will have to contain Kedar Jadhav, who looks to be in perilous form. His 37-ball 69 helped Bangalore win their opening match against Delhi Daredevils. Also, Bangalore captain Shane Watson has the ability to blow away any opposition singlehandedly — whether it is with the bat or the ball.
The absence of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and KL Rahul has affected last season’s runners-up’s batting, but young Indian batsmen like Mandeep Singh would want to utilise this opportunity.
Like Kings XI Punjab, Bangalore too has some exciting Indian bowling talent in Yuzvendra Chahal, Pawan Negi and Iqbal Abdulla. Coupled with the likes of Tymal Mills and Watson, they seem to make Bangalore bowling really robust.
It was due to their superb show that Bangalore could defend a low score of 157/8 against against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.
However, when the format is T20 and the opposition has batsmen like Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, the Bangalore bowlers need to pull up their socks even more.
Both batsmen played out devastating knocks in the middle overs as Punjab chased down a 164-run target against Pune with ease. At the top, Hashim Amla and Wriddhiman Saha started steadily but could not maintain the tempo.
Against Bangalore, which despite the absence of Kohli and De Villiers are not short on batting ammunition, Punjab would want all its batsmen to fire to notch up as many runs as possible.
With both Punjab and Bangalore starting off with wins, Indore is getting ready for an equally exciting contest. The tickets have been sold out as one of India’s latest Test venues gears up for another exciting T20 contest.