IPL: Dhoni vs Virat as Rising Pune, RCB eye return to winning ways | ipl | Hindustan Times
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IPL: Dhoni vs Virat as Rising Pune, RCB eye return to winning ways

Rising Pune Supergiants and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will aim to return to winning ways when they meet in an IPL clash at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Friday.

ipl Updated: Apr 23, 2016 12:26 IST
Dhoni’s Rising Pune Supergiants are in fifth place, above Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore, due to a better run rate.
Dhoni’s Rising Pune Supergiants are in fifth place, above Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore, due to a better run rate.(AFP)

Rising Pune Supergiants and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will aim to return to winning ways when they meet in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Friday.

Both teams started off in promising fashion by winning their respective opening matches, but lost their way thereafter with back-to-back defeats. A win on Friday will be crucial in getting their campaign back on track.

Both teams are on two points each after identical records of one win and two defeats. But Pune are at fifth spot, a rung above Bangalore, due to a better run rate.

Pune are struggling to get going in both batting and bowling departments. Their star-studded batting line-up includes the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. But with the exception of Faf du Plesis, none of the big names have lived up to their reputation so far.

Pune’s bowlers have not done too well, either. The pace bowling saw a couple of changes in their last match against Kings XI Punjab with Thisara Perera and Irfan Pathan replacing Mitchell Marsh and RP Singh. But the changes did not bring about the desired results as they couldn’t defend a 150-plus total.

Ishant Sharma has also been largely ineffective despite his considerable international experience. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has not been in the best of form, but rookie spinner Murugan Ashwin and experienced pacer Rajat Bhatia have been promising.

RCB also have an explosive batting line-up. They will miss star opener Chris Gayle, who has flown back home to Jamiaca following the birth of his first child. But the likes of captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson have the ability to tear apart any bowling attack on their day. The young Sarfaraz Khan has also been promising.

The bowling however, is a cause for worry. Pacers Varun Aaron, Kane Richardson, Adam Milne and David Wiese have been far too expensive and have struggled to get wickets. The spinners have fared no better with Yuzvendra Chahal, Parvez Rasool and Iqbal Abdullah struggling due to their lack of experience.