Although RCB weren’t at their very best, they can take in a lot of positives from the triumph over Hyderabad. Devdutt Padikkal had a memorable IPL debut with a fluent half-century, looking in command throughout his stay at the crease. At the back of the innings, the experienced AB de Villiers lifted the side after a dip in the middle overs. RCB skipper Virat Kohli had a rare failure, but the team would want Aaron Finch to get into his groove.
In the bowling as well, RCB were highly impressive after Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey kept them at bay for a while. Yuzvendra Chahal proved why he is an IPL star with three brilliant wickets while Navdeep Saini will continue to grow in stature after another fiery display with the ball.
Looking at Punjab, they have only themselves to blame for having gone down to Delhi Capitals. Mayank Agarwal made a supreme 89 to lift Punjab from 55 for 5 in a chase of 158. However, he let the team down with a poor shot with just one needed off two. The others in the side, including skipper KL Rahul, Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran need to take greater responsibility, though.
In the bowling department, KXIP will be pleased with the valiant effort of veteran Mohammad Shami. Young leggie Ravi Bishnoi made an impressive debut while Sheldon Cottrell was good in phases.
Head to Head Record: The teams have faced each other 24 times and have an even record, with 12 wins each.
RCB Probable XI: Aaron Finch, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Josh Philippe (WK), Washington Sundar, Shivam Dube, Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav, Dale Steyn, Yuzvendra Chahal
KXIP Probable XI: KL Rahul (C)(WK), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Chris Jordan, Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammad Shami.
The pitch at Dubai was slightly on the slower side as seen during the RCB-SRH contest. Spinners will have a role to play, as will the dew.
The maximum temperature on Thursday will be in the region of 40 degrees celsius. Humidity will be around 31 per cent.