It is now or never for both Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). If both sides want positive results in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017, then they will have to start winning. RCB and RPS have played four matches each and have lost three of them in IPL 2017, giving  their skippers Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, plenty of reasons to worry about.

 

RPS' last year statistics are alarmingly similar to this year - they had began their campaign by beating Mumbai Indians in their opening game of IPL 2016 and then went on to lose 4 games in a row. This year too, it has almost been the same. They began their campaign with a win over Mumbai Indians and they have now lost three matches in a row. It will not be wise of them to leave it till too late.

 

RCB still can turn things around with the arrival of their skipper Kohli. They will be banking on Chris Gayle's form on Sunday as the big West Indian is yet to treat his fans with some fireworks from his bat. Gayle just needs three runs to be the first cricketer in the history of the game to have scored 10,000 T20 runs. They just need that one win like last year, from where they had gone on to win six out of seven remaining matches in IPL 2016 to land up in the big final.

 

RCB's bowling attack needs to step up to the occasion to support Kohli's belligerence on the field. Apart from Samuel Badree's incredible spell, which included the first hat-trick of IPL 2017, there has not been much of a notable performance from their bowlers. The team combination is likely to remain the same for both sides. However, concerns over Indian batsmen like Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni still remain as they are yet to shine with their willows in IPL 2017.

 

Head-to-Head: RCB got the better of RPS twice last year.

 

Likely XIs:

 

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Sreenath Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal, Samuel Badree. 

 

Rising Pune Supergiant: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith (C), Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni (wk), Manoj Tiwary, Imran Tahir, Ankit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Rahul Chahar, Lockie Ferguson.