Daijiworld Media Network
Bangalore, Apr 23: Hello, and welcome to yet another double header. Bangalore will take on Pune in the first match of the day. The hosts are in red hot form having won all their five home matches so far. On the other hand, Pune have managed to snatch defeats from the jaws of victory in their last two matches and need to shed their losing habit quickly if they are to progress further in the tournament.
Pune have won the toss and elected to field.
R P Singh: 'The crowd is very supportive and the wicket is helping us. I am enjoying playing in this line-up. We have done well as a unit and are supporting each other. We have both the orange and purple caps, hopefully we will have it until the end of the season. Pune have some very good batsmen, we have made some plans for them and hopefully it will work out well.'
Kohli: 'We were looking to field as well, we will look to get a good score, anything around 160 will be a good score. We are playing an unchanged side. There was rain last evening as well. Hopefully, there will be no rain today. The pitch looks good, will play pretty well throughout the day. We do not see this ground as a fortress, we will take it as some home advantage.'
Finch: 'We are going to have a bowl, backing our batsmen to chase down the target. We have a few changes. I can't remember all those changes. Mitchell Marsh replaces Ajantha Mendis, Ali Murtaza replaces Rahul Sharma and there is another change ( I can't remember it). The wicket should stay pretty much the same. The guys have been very supportive, captaincy has been fun and a challenge. We have played some good cricket, unfortunately we have been at the wrong end of the result in a few games. We can take a few positives from our losses. The Punjab wicket was beautiful, hopefully it will be the same here as well.'
Pune (Playing XI): Aaron Finch(c), Robin Uthappa(w), Yuvraj Singh, Steven Smith, Luke Wright, Mitchell Marsh, Mithun Manhas, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishwar Pandey, Ali Murtaza, Ashok Dinda
Bangalore (Playing XI): Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli(c), AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary, Arun Karthik(w), Ravi Rampaul, Vinay Kumar, Murali Kartik, RP Singh, Jaidev Unadkat
Bangalore are right at the top of the table while Pune languish at the bottom in eighth position but all that would matter little when the two sides take on each other at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday. While Bangalore have been brilliant, winning five of their seven games, Pune have started to find their feet in the tournament. They have shown promise with the batting finally starting to fire and despite a heartbreaking defeat against Punjab Sunday night, Virat Kohli's men would do well not to underestimate their visitors.
Team News: Bangalore will be keen to stay ahead of competition with Hyderabad and Chennai breathing down their neck. They have looked like the most the consistent team in the tournament with all departments working well. They have shown Chris Gayle is not the only man who can win them games with the bat with Virat Kohli donning the Orange Cap and AB deVilliers chipping in regularly. Vinay Kumar has been exceptional with the ball and he has found great support in RP Singh. There is healthy competition in the team which must be pleasing for the owners.
In-form player: Chris Gayle's 'patient' 49 not out against Rajasthan was a sight to behold. The southpaw curtailed his six-hitting ways and instead dropped anchor to pilot Bangalore's chase without hitting a single six till the last ball of the game. He later said there was no need to go on a six-hitting mode all the time and since Bangalore were not chasing too many, he was perfectly willing to wait and steer them across. If Gayle decides to stay around for all of the 20 overs, it could only mean bad news for the other teams in the tournament.
Team form: Bangalore defeated Rajasthan by seven wickets
Hit: Virat Kohli has led from the front in every sense. Not only is he the highest scorer in the tournament thus far, but his captaincy has drawn praise from a lot of corners. True, he has lost his cool at the odd instance but that can be put down to his age and lack of maturity. Kohli has been in devastating form and rattled up scores of 46, 93 not out, 35, 58 and 65 before being dismissed for 1 against Rajasthan. However, he will be keen to score a few more and consolidate his position at the top.
Miss: Tillakaratne Dilshan has played only three games this season but scores of 0, 5 and 25 do not reflect the talent that the Sri Lankan opener brings to the table. If only Dilshan aided Gayle a little more at the top, Bangalore could become almost unbeatable. However, the right-handed opener has left much to be desired and would look to make amends in the days to come.
Team News: Pune have chopped and changed their captains far too often within the tournament. From Angelo Mathews to Ross Taylor to Aaron Finch, the team seems to be unsure of what they want. However, despite their crushing defeat to Punjab Sunday evening, the team management would be relatively happy with the way the batting fired. Finch has been in prolific form and Robin Uthappa has chipped in too. Promoting Yuvraj Singh to number three was a positive move and with Steve Smith and Luke Wright bringing up the rear, Pune will pose more threats. The bowling faltered in Punjab but the attack has the potential to bounce back.
In-form player: Luke Wright had to watch his team from the dug-out as Pune tried one foreigner after another, leaving the Englishman behind. The audience waited patiently to see when the side would let Wright have a game and when he finally got one, he had only 17 deliveries to make his mark. Wright showed his prowess, clobbering 34 off the 10 he got to face, helping Pune set Punjab a daunting total.
Team form: Lost to Punjab by seven wickets
Hit: Pune clearly seem to be focused on letting one of their foreign players lead the team so that Yuvraj Singh is free to play his natural game. While Mathews and Taylor were both tested and subsequently failed, the management saw a fresh lease of life in Finch, who has rattled up three fifties so far this season. The Australian's blistering 64 against Punjab on Sunday helped set a strong platform for the lower order to create some carnage.
Miss: Ashok Dinda is capable of a lot more than his five wickets so far in this edition. The pacer has gone for plenty of runs and has looked anything but threatening. Dinda has the pace and can be accurate when he wants to be but barring the rare occasion, the Bengal speedster has failed to deliver. Pune need him to deliver the goods with Bhuvneshwar Kumar with the new ball.
Head-to-Head: Bangalore have won all their three games against Pune
The way we approached our innings with the bat, the way Yuvi batted at No.3 and really took the game on. The way Luke Wright made his T20-League debut with six boundaries to start was phenomenal. With the ball, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) continues to be an outstanding Twenty20 bowler. People questioned his pace and his ability to play in this format, but his skill level is so good,: Pune skipper Aaron Finch
CB Pick: Though Pune have shown some promise, Bangalore will be the favourites given their all-round strength and the form of their batsmen.