Challengers eye revenge against Kings

Having lost the first encounter against Punjab, Bangalore will aim to make amends for the disappointment when the two sides take on each other on Friday.

updated: May 01, 2009 11:51 IST
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Having lost the previous encounter against Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore will aim to make amends for the disappointment when the two sides take on each other for the second time in the Indian Premier League here on Friday.

Under Kevin Pietersen, Royal Challengers started off with a win against Rajasthan Royals but then lost four matches on the trot before pulling off a narrow win over Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.

With Pietersen leaving for national duty, there is uncertainty surrounding as to who will be his successor with coach Ray Jennings saying that the pre-tournament back-up plan of having Jacques Kallis at the helm may not be used given the all-rounder's patchy form.

The South African has struggled to find a regular place in the team so far.

On the batting front, Challengers have tried different combinations in the opening slot but have still not found a stable pair.

Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Robin Uttappa -- all have been a failure and even middle order batsmen like Jacques Kallis and Virat Kohli are far from being consistent. With the exception of Rahul Dravid, who has been on leave to attend to his newborn child, the batting has been a letdown for the Bangalore team.

The Royal Challengers' bowling looks equally lackluster. An inconsistent South African speedster Dale Steyn has been in and out of the squad and only Praveen Kumar (6) and Anil Kumble (8) have been among the wickets.

In contrast, Kings have been in rampaging form, winning three matches on the trot after being on the receiving end of rain God's ire twice -- against Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders.

Although their batting looks a bit inconsistent, Kumar Sangakkara has made sure that they reach the safe zone every time they have their backs to the wall. Even Ravi Bopara has played some crucial innings at the top and with all-rounder Irfan Pathan making himself counted, things have worked out quite well for the Mohali team.

Among the bowlers, pacer Yusuf Abdulla has wrecked havoc, while leg-spinner Piyush Chawla has managed the spin department well.

The only concern for Punjab is the form of skipper Yuvraj Singh, whose bat has been surprisingly silent since the start of the tournament.