Bangalore:Local favourites Bangalore Royal Challengers will hope to maintain their upswing while Victoria Bushrangers are keen to put behind their defeat against Wayamba Elevens when they lock horn in the first League B match of the Champions League Twenty20 tournament here on Thursday.
Both took the same stop-start route to the Super Eight stage, tasting both win and defeat before eventually making the top-eight cut. With little margin for error in the League segment, both the teams would be hoping to get off to a winning start on Thursday.
For Kumble and his teammates, playing before home crowd can work both ways. While it would ensure that there would not be any dearth of support, it also means additional pressure, which the Indian Premier League runners-up would have to cope up with.
The local favourites did not start well, losing their tournament opener to Cape Cobras by five wickets before South African old warhorse Jacques Kallis inspired them to a comprehensive 80-run win over Otago Volts that cleared their Super Eight passage.
Bangalore's top-order is formidable enough to give sleepless nights to any attack and with Kallis, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor in good nick, Victorian bowlers have their task cut out on Thursday.
And even if the top order fumbles, the Challengers can rely on Rahul Dravid to bail them out, something the former India captain has done time and again in his illustrious career.
In comparison, their bowling unit may look a little low on glamour but Victoria would do well not to underestimate an attack that includes Praveen Kumar, Kallis, Kumble and Roelof van der Merwe.
Victoria Bushrangers, however, can draw inspiration from the fact that they bulldozed the mighty Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets with 20 balls to go in their tournament opener.
It was a surgical display by Shane Harwood, Clint McKay and Andrew McDonald who restricted the Daredevils to a meagre 98 for eight before Rob Quiny and captain Cameron White saw them through.
The Victorian giant-killers, however, stepped on a banana skin in their next encounter against the lowly Wayamba Elevens, losing the low-scoring tie by 15 runs even though it could not halt their Super Eight march.
Once again, the Victorians bowlers did a decent job against the Lankans restricting them to 118 for nine but their batsmen goofed up, managing just 103 runs even though they had lost just four wickets.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Anil Kumble (Captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Rajesh Bishnoi, Mark Boucher, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Manish Pandey, Ross Taylor, Robin Uthappa, Roelof van der Merwe and Vinay Kumar.
Victoria Bushrangers: Cameron White (Captain), Aiden Blizzard, Aaron Finch, Shane Harwood, John Hastings, Brad Hodge, Jon Holland, David Hussey, Andrew McDonald, Bryce McGain, Clint McKay, Rob Quiney, Peter Siddle, Matthew Wade and Damien Wright.