Bangalore, May 9 :
Hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are bracing up to face Kings XI Punjab Friday in the IPL T-20 series, with the advantage of playing at home in the Chinnaswamy stadium.
“It’s going to be a tough contest, as they (Kings) have a few dangerous batsmen. They have been playing well in this tournament and lost only one match so far,” RCB’s pacer Albie Morkel told reporters here Thursday ahead of the game.
RCB lost to Mumbai Indians Tuesday by 19 runs in Mumbai after winning over Sunrisers Hyderabad here Sunday by four wickets in the second leg of the tournament.
Though Kings are sitting pretty on top of the table with six wins out of seven games, RCB, which is stuck in the middle with only three wins and four losses, is under pressure to maintain its record of winning most of the league matches on home turf.
“If you want to qualify in IPL, you have to win home matches. We will go out and try to win all three home matches. We have a proud record of winning most games here,” the South African right-arm bowler asserted.
RCB will also play against Rajasthan Royals May 11 and Delhi Daredevils May 13 before going out for three away games against other teams.
It, however, failed to beat Kings in all their last four encounters here, home advantage notwithstanding.
“We have seven games to play and have to win five to qualify for semi-finals. Certainly, our goal is to play well in every match to stay on course for play-offs,” Morkel noted.
Admitting that as a batting unit, the team did not do well yet, he said most of its batsmen had good starts but failed to convert them into big scores, barring A.B. de Villiers), who struck 89, with eight mighty sixes and six fours in 41 balls against Hyderabad May 4.
“If you want to win T20 games, out of top five-six batsmen, one has to go out and score a big one. Thirties and 40s can win you games on some occasions. We are aiming that somebody in our team should score a big one,” he said.
Morkel, who shifted from Chennai Super Kings this year, played only in the opening game against Delhi April 17 at Abu Dhabi and has been warming up on the bench in the last six matches, including four in the UAE during the first leg of the tournament.
Asked if they the team had any strategy to restrain Kings’ marauder Glenn Maxwell, the highest scorer in this tournament, Morkel said the Aussie proved to be a dangerous batsman and his team would have a plan to contain him.
“As we plan for each game, we are preparing for Friday’s tie like for any other match. We haven’t peaked. Hopefully that happens and we re-charge ourselves,” he quipped.
After winning all the five games in the UAE, Kings lost only to Mumbai by five wickets May 3 in Mumbai.
The home team could not practice Thursday evening in the stadium due to wet outfield following intermittent rains in the city during the day.
Kings, who landed in the city from Cuttack earlier in the day, decided to rest.