Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have some incredible talent in their squad, and one will be pleasantly surprised with their IPL 2016 standings. RPS lie in the sixth place, while RCB are seventh in the IPL table, which must egg both the teams to come up with their best cricket when they clash against one another at MCA Stadium in Pune on Friday.
The wicket for this crucial game between RPS and RCB is relatively unknown -- how will it play -- as it will be the first IPL 2016 game in Pune.
Here is a look at how this IPL 2016 game might shape up.
If RCB bat first: The pitch in Pune assisted seamers during the World T20, but the track might be a little different for the IPL. With no IPL action so far in this track, it would be wise for the team, which wins the toss, to bat second and chase after understanding the pitch conditions.
Virat Kohli looks good, but KL Rahul struggles, failing to time the ball and gets out in the third over. Kohli and AB de Villiers get into their act, and play the ball according to merit, scoring boundaries with some wonderful shots all around the ground. The pitch supports the seamers initially, but the batsmen look at ease now. The pair looks settled as they score 80 runs in 10 overs, but while trying to up the ante, RCB lose both Kohli and De Villiers, which erupts the home crowd. However, Shane Watson uses his experience, alongside Travis Head, who scores another 30 odd runs, and loses his wicket in the 18th over. Shane Watson takes the team total to 158 runs.
Ajinkya Rahane and Faf Du Plessis gives their team a solid start, scoring 45 runs in the first six overs. Despite Kohli using a mix of spin and seamers during the powerplay, the RPS batsmen look in complete control of the innings and the pitch looks easier to bat in the second half as well. The RPS are cruising towards a win, but RCB makes a strong comeback, with three quick wickets as both the openers are gone alongwith Pietersen, who is out for a golden duck. They still have 60 runs to win, but MS Dhoni and Steve Smith form a solid partnership to reach the target in the 19th over.
If RPS bat first: Rahane and Du Plessis looks good at the top of the order, but they cannot pierce the gaps for boundaries amid good fielding from RCB. The openers are under pressure, and Rahane gives his wicket, playing a false shot, but Pietersen plays a counter-attacking game, to delight the home crowd. Du Plessis and Pietersen look comfortable now, and reach 75 runs in the 11th over. Pietersen continues to play his shots, but loses his wicket to Yuzvendra Chahal. Dhoni promotes himself up the order, and hits two sixes and goes back to the pavilion. Despite Smith's failure with the bat, Du Plessis helps his team score 150 runs in 20 overs.
Kohli and Rahul look in fine knick, especially the skipper, who is playing some exquisite shots to all parts of the ground, with ridiculous ease. Rahul, meanwhile, is a spectator, enjoying Kohli's innings, but the latter receives a gem of a delivery from Ravichandran Ashwin and is back in the dugout. Despite the wicket, the run-flow does not stop, as De Villiers plays an aggressive game and helps the team reach 100 runs in the 11th over. Now, Rahul also gets into the act, and starts to play his shots, which pressurises the RPS bowlers, but the batsman is back into the dugout trying to match De Villiers. Watson and De Villiers finish the game, scoring 151 runs in the 17.5 overs.