Daijiworld Media Network
Mohali, May 6: A warm welcome to one and all for the match between Punjab and Bangalore. Bangalore come into this game with a lot of confidence after snapping their four match away losing streak with a win over Pune a few days back. They are in second position and a win today will get them a step closer to the knock-outs. Punjab, on the other hand, have lost a couple of close games and they will be desperate to win today if they have to stay in contention.
Punjab have won the toss and elected to field.
Kohli: 'We've played some good consistent cricket and we're happy with our performances. Good to win the last away game and hope to take some momentum into this game. We shouldn't think about the table or the play offs, we're taking one game at a time. Tiwary asked me in Rajasthan if he could open and he delivered for me. Generally a pretty good wicket, we were looking to bowl first as well. Pujara is in for Rahul and Ravi Rampaul is in for Muralitharan.'
David Hussey: 'Good true wicket. Good for the pacers and it has good bounce. We had a good training session yesterday and we're ready to go. Chasing is a better option in this ground, high scores have been chased down - we chased 185 against Pune. Pomersbach is out and Michael Neser from Queensland is in.'
Punjab (Playing XI): Shaun Marsh, Mandeep Singh, David Hussey(c), David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh(w), Rajagopal Sathish, Michael Neser, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Manpreet Gony, Parvinder Awana
Bangalore (Playing XI): Saurabh Tiwary, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli(c), AB de Villiers, Moises Henriques, Cheteshwar Pujara, Arun Karthik(w), Vinay Kumar, Ravi Rampaul, Murali Kartik, RP Singh
Close defeats are the flavour of the season and they made this tournament more competitive and interesting. Underdogs Punjab find themselves in a vulnerable position after having suffered many narrow losses and will be fighting hard to break back into the top half of the table. On the other hand, Bangalore comfortably relinquishing the second position will be keen to inch closer to top dogs Chennai.
Punjab are a solid team boasting of noteworthy domestic talent under the seasoned captainship of Adam Gilchrist. All they need is little bit of luck and collective performances instead of just individual bursts in the middle as they possess the ability to do better than their past performances.
Team News: After three back to back losses, Punjab have slipped further back in the points table and are currently stranded on the sixth position. Another loss and they can kiss their hopes of making it to the playoffs goodbye. They need to refrain from heavily depending on their middle order and try working on their bowling instead.
In form player: David Miller - Miller has been the solid rock supporting Punjab and fighting lone battles for his team. He once again came to their rescue hitting an aggressive 51 but his antics fell short after Marsh perished. Miller will hope that he is able to put an end to Punjab's misery at least in this match.
Hit: Shaun Marsh - Marsh finally found form after repeated chances when he hit a blazing 73 in just 51 balls and almost took Punjab home against Chennai putting up a sensational stand with Miller. Punjab will hope that he fires again to match the daunting opposition.
Miss: Praveen Kumar - Although Pravin Kumar has been good for Punjab, he performs well only in patches and has failed at crucial times. In the previous match, he gave away 38 runs in his quota of 4 overs without taking a single wicket and was thrashed mercilessly by the top order. Praveen needs to gear up and bowl his heart out to restrict the Bangalore batters.
Last three matches: Lost to Chennai by 15 runs, Lost to Mumbai by 4 runs, Lost to Kolkata by 6 wickets
Led by a ruthless young captain, Bangalore are packed with entertainers like Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Henriques who have the ability to create a mountain of runs. On a favourable Punjab wicket, one can expect huge fireworks if these batsmen fire.
Team News: Bangalore improved their away record by winning against Pune in their last encounter. They put up a spectacular batting display and although Pune fought back well, the hosts succumbed to the their impeccable bowling attack.
In form player: AB de Villiers - ABD has been playing well throughout the tournament chipping in important runs usually playing second fiddle to other batsmen. However, his useful contributions cannot be forgotten as they have helped Bangalore to post massive targets. He smashed a quick-paced unbeaten 50 in the last game too to boost his team.
Hit: Saurabh Tiwary - His position in peril, Tiwary needed a big score to justify his inclusion in an already star-studded team. He proved his point by opening the innings and providing Bangalore a super start. Even Gayle had to take back-seat while the young batsman continued to hit convincingly at one end.
Miss: Muralitharan - The veteran bowler has lost his earlier charm and is barely able to take wickets for his side. Even in the previous match, he proved ineffective and gave away a lot of runs.
Last three matches: Won against Pune by 17 runs, Lost to Rajasthan by 4 wickets, Lost to Mumbai by 58 runs
Head to Head: Played 10: Punjab - 5, Bangalore - 5.
David Hussey is positive about Punjab's future - We have got 5-6 games to go and we will want to win all of them. We have won only 1 game from the 4 games on the road. Looking forward to the home leg.
Virat Kohli was happy about the previous win - We are just looking at it as an other game. We had to play good cricket and towards the end, it got a bit tight. Today, it was a team effort.
CB Pick: Bangalore - Knowing Bangalore's explosive batting and hunger to post huge totals, it will be a tough task for the hosts to contain them. However, one can expect another thrilling encounter if Punjab play to their potential.