New Delhi: Nothing could make a Sunday night even more special for cricket fans than to get another glimpse of a Steve Smith-Virat Kohli rivalry as the two high-profile franchises – Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rising Pune Supergiant go head against each other at Chinnaswamy Stadium today.
To most, it a version 2.0 of their classic rivalry that spun around the India-Australia Test series, last March, but as far as the league is concerned, it’s a definite time for revival. Both the sides have incurred losses, despite both the teams looking quite strong when seen on paper. The o called paper tigers, if we may.
Sunday’s match is thus a crucial encounter for both the franchises as the captains would love to keep aside their controversies and inspire their respective sides to get back to winning ways.
Here are the players to watch out for today…
Rising Pune Supergiant
Steve Smith: Despite a dismal start to their campaign, one thing that has stayed consistent for the Pune side is, of course, the skipper's form and willingness to pull up side. What has made him so dangerous at the crease is his unconventional style of batting and his offside dominance.
His brilliant knock in the team's opener brought them back from the jaws of defeat. Although he continued with his form, RPS, as a whole, failed to click and what followed was three consecutive defeats.
Imran Tahir: Bouncing back from being unsold at the auction, the South African international has been asbsolutely phenomenal with his googlies, which has got on the nerves of most the batsmen he has bowled to. Already scalping six wickets in four matches, the Bengaluru side would have a test of anxiety when the top-ranked T20 bowler comes to bowl in.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli: After a lot of controversies surrounding the Border-Gavaskar series and those ambivalent discussions on his form, the Indian skipper returned with a bang, notching up an brilliant 67 runs off just 47 deliveries, giving back his to his critics in style. To add on to it, he was the highest run scorer last season, hitting 973 runs.
Apart from it, his aggressive captaincy it much to look out for, which has won quite some lauds from cricketing legend. And with his return to form, he would hope to inspire the team to bounce back to dominance with their first victory since the opener.
Samuel Badree: It was only in the team’s third game, against Mumbai Indians, that the West Indies spinner was given a chance to feature on the team sheet. And what followed, was history.
Introduced early into the attack, the leg-spinner completely hobbled down the much-confident Mumbai side to a 7/4 by scalping the season’s and his first IPL hat-trick. With the spinners making more of an effect this season, Badree is surely the bowler that the Supergiants have to stay away from.