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IPL: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Pune Warriors

Bangalore are up to fourth but Andrew Hughes thinks that lowly Pune can expose the Royal Challengers’ weakness in Friday’s IPL clash, as Betfair bring us their latest top tips.

Team News
Pune’s Ashok Dinda rushed his return and has aggravated his side injury. He missed the game against Rajasthan and with an India A tour coming up, the Warriors will be under pressure not to play him. Newcomer Anustup Majumdur should keep his place after hitting some quick runs in the last game.

Bangalore’s experiment of dropping captain Daniel Vettori for Muttiah Muralitharan has coincided with two wins so will probably continue, with Virat Kohli taking over the captaincy. Spinner KP Appanna may replace Jamaluddin Mohammad who was a little expensive against Mumbai.

Venue and Conditions
The last couple of games at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium have been low scoring affairs, but on both occasions, the pitch was blameless and the surface pretty true. There is a little pace for quick bowlers to exploit, but otherwise it’s a good place to bat. The average first innings score is a tad low at 149 but a par score is probably more like 160.

Match Odds
Eighth-placed Pune’s campaign is effectively over and we are still scratching our heads as to why that should be. On paper, they have strength in all areas. Their bowling is solid and they have depth on the bench, with Alfonso Thomas unable to get a regular game. But they just can’t seem to get their batting combination right and have regularly found ways to lose matches that they could have won.

Bangalore have scrambled up to fourth after a couple of wins, but their side is badly imbalanced and their strength is also their weakness. Three big-hitting overseas stars at the top of the order means they can’t afford to play two of their three most economical bowlers, Muttiah Muralitharan, Andrew McDonald and captain Daniel Vettori. Vettori is the latest to be dropped, but they remain the least economical bowling attack in the tournament.

The reverse fixture suggested there was not too much between these teams. Pune spanked 182 off the Bangalore bowling and the Royal Challengers only chased that total down off the last ball. With the pressure on the men in red to keep winning to secure a play-off place, they could crack. Pune should not be as high as 2.58 and they are the value here.

Top Pune Batsman
Most of the main Pune batsmen are either out of form or scoring too slowly and the reshuffling of the order doesn’t help. In the circumstances, it is safest to stick with Robin Uthappa, by a distance Pune’s top scorer this season and a regular in the top four. He should be backed at 4.0 or better.

Top Bangalore Batsman
This market is all about Chris Gayle, but if you don’t want to take skinny odds about the tall Jamaican, there are alternatives. AB de Villiers has been in great touch and is worth a look but stand-in captain Virat Kohli looked like he was finally hitting form against Mumbai and is no bad shout at 4.0 or more.

Recommended Bet
Back Pune to beat Bangalore at 2.58

Click here to read Chetan Narula’s account of the week just gone in the IPL

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