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Indian T20 League: Punjab in the hunt for season's first win against Bangalore

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Bangalore will look to make it two wins in two at the start of their 2020 Indian T20 League campaign when they battle Punjab at the Dubai International Stadium in UAE.

While Bangalore are coming off a 10-run victory over the Hyderabad, Punjab lost in gut-wrenching fashion against Delhi, getting beaten in a Super Over, and will be looking to make amends tomorrow.

Here’s everything you need to know about this fixture.

Shami’s sensational form

Mohammad Shami had always been an afterthought when rating the best pacers in T20s but the 30-year-old has come of age over the past 18 months as a bowler in the shortest format of the game.

Since the start of 2019, Shami has picked 22 wickets in 58 overs at a stellar economy rate of 6.22 and a brilliant average of 14.84. Here are his numbers pre and post the 2019 Indian T20 League.

Shami in Indian T20 League

Overs

Wickets

Average

Strike Rate

Economy

Pre 2019

118

21

55.22

36.16

9.3

Since 2019

58

22

14.84

12.52

6.22

Shami has come of age and is now one of the premier bowlers in the format. He was sensational against the Delhi Capitals in Punjab’s season opener, finishing with figures of 3-15 in his quota of four and Punjab will be hoping that he can continue in the same vein against the high-powered batting lineup of Bangalore.  

Chahal’s the lucky charm

Despite a carousel of bowling changes over the years at the Bangalore, one man survives and performs year after year for the franchise – spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

In their first match of the season against Hyderabad, all hope was seemingly lost but Chahal’s double-wicket 16th over turned the tide of the contest and helped Bangalore pull off an unlikely win. The 30-year-old will be pleased with his performance and delighted to be facing Punjab up next.

Punjab are Chahal’s favourite opponents in the Indian T20 League, having picked 19 wickets against them at an average of 16 and an economy rate of 7.76. Here are his favourite opponents in the Indian T20 League.

Team

Wickets

Strike Rate

Average

Economy

Punjab

19

12.30

16

7.76

Mumbai

16

15.75

20.56

7.83

Delhi 

14

16.79

22.42

8.01

Whether Chahal be able to emulate his previous performances against Punjab remains to be seen, but his status as Bangalore’s X-factor with the ball is unquestionable.

Players to watch

Punjab – KL Rahul

The Punjab skipper has been absolutely stellar for the past two seasons. With 1,252 in the last two campaigns, the 28-year-old has revelled under the spotlights after leaving the shadow of Virat Kohli at Bangalore. While he has been stellar on a personal level, his team has struggled to make any impact whatsoever, failing to reach the playoffs in each of his two seasons with the franchise.

Now leading the side, Rahul not only has the pressure of leading by example but also leading the team on the field.

Bangalore – AB de Villiers

Questions of age and rust are common for players who have retired from international cricket and only participate in T20 tournaments across the globe and Bangalore’s South African superstar AB de Villiers is no exception. But he put those to rest by rolling back the years with a brilliant innings of 51 off 30 balls that helped Bangalore get those extra 15 runs that proved to be the difference against Hyderabad.

AB has been Bangalore’s closer for close to a decade and his form will dictate how far Bangalore can venture into this tournament.

Stats to watch out for

2: Punjab skipper KL Rahul needs just two runs to reach 2000 runs in the league. The 28-year-old will become the 32nd batsman to reach that mark.

3: South African speedster Dale Steyn needs just three scalps to reach 100 wickets in the Indian T20 League. He could become only the fourth overseas bowler after Lasith Malinga, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine to reach that mark. Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell also needs just three wickets to reach 100 wickets in his T20 career.

12 – Punjab and Bangalore have battled 24 times in the league and have won 12 games each.

19 – Yuzvendra Chahal has picked 19 wickets against Punjab in his Indian T20 League career - the most he’s managed against any side in the Indian T20 League.

680 – Like Chahal, Punjab are AB de Villiers’ favourite opponents in the Indian T20 League. The 36-year-old has scored 680 at an average of 52.30 against them.

Writer’s pick

It’s hard to pick a winner in this contest as both teams are pretty evenly matched on paper. Bangalore, though, have two game-changers with the bat in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers and one with the ball in Yuzvendra Chahal. Punjab too boast of KL Rahul and Glenn Maxwell who can end contests on their own, but with neither looking in great touch, Bangalore certainly have the edge in this contest and hence, is our pick to win the match.

Think you know more? We have a fantasy game lined up for you.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain

 

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