Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Saturday, 3rd October
12:00 SA Time
Two weeks into the tournament and this IPL has turned out to be a treat with no dominant team in the league and no team struggling to fetch a win and only two points separating top from bottom. Each team looks as strong as the other which makes the competition tougher than ever before. As we head on to the 15th match of the season, we have RCB lock horns with RR at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
RCB will be riding high on confidence after having a fairy-tale start to their campaign, winning 2 of their 3 matches. They come into the game after defeating Mumbai Indians in a super over but that hardly reflects the way they dominated the game for about 35 overs and almost let the game slip away in the death overs. RCB’s batting has looked formidable and the opening pair of Finch and Padikkal has been a revelation for the side. Both the openers, along with ABD look in astounding form and surprisingly only Kohli looks off-coloured with the bat.
Recovering from an embarrassing loss against KXIP, they put up a near perfect performance both with the bat and the ball for most of the match but their death bowling again came to haunt them as they gave away nearly 80 runs in the last 4 overs. Kohli will look to make amends and use his bowlers better as the season progresses.
The bowling department looks sound on paper with Navdeep Saini and Washington Sundar in fine form. Even the batting depth looks impressive with Shivam Dube scoring quick runs at the end of the innings. All in all if everybody steps up to the occasion in their respective roles, it will be tough to dominate RCB.
After winning two consecutive games impressively, RR’s campaign suffered a major setback as they lost without a fight against KKR by in their third game of the season. Restricting Kolkata to a mediocre total, Rajasthan’s batting line-up faltered after a top-order collapse once again exposing the over reliance of the team on Samson, Smith and Butler.
Even though the three of them have seemed to be good touch, they couldn’t come together and perform and a weak and inexperienced middle order failed miserably after being put to test. Only Tom Curran held on to his ground and hit some big sixes but his resilient innings went in vain as he didn’t get any support from the other end.
Apart from Jofra Archer, who was in fine touch in the previous game, the bowling has looked pretty mediocre. In the current scenario, Rajasthan’s side looks very weak and will be vulnerable after the fall of quick early wickets. They need to make changes and find the right team balance as quickly as possible to keep their hopes alive this season.
Injury and Availability News
Chris Morris’ availability still remains uncertain after it was reported that he was on the sidelines due to a side strain.
Probable Playing XI
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Aaron Finch, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Shivam Dube, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Isuru Udana, Navdeep Saini, Adam Zampa, Yuzvendra Chahal
Steve Smith (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat
Key Players to watch out for
AB De Villiers: de Villiers has been RCB’s frontline batsman since his inclusion in the side in 2011. The all-time second highest run-getter for RCB, it will be upon him to carry his side over the line and to shape up RCB’s campaign. He has amassed 134 runs in the three matches that RCB has played so far and is their leading run scorer this season. His ability to score runs all around the ground, finding gaps and accurate placements makes him an important cog in the wheel for RCB and Bangalore will heavily depend on him once again to keep their chances alive this season.
Virat Kohli: Virat Kohli is inarguably the best white-ball player in the world and a phenomenal leader. The all-time highest run-scorer in the history of the League, Virat has been a force to reckon with at the RCB. Even though he hasn’t found his touch yet after the lockdown scoring only 18 runs in his three matches, one cannot write the skipper off. He will be itching to get off the mark and once he gets going, it will be tough to contain him.
Sanju Samson: One of the most consistent IPL performers, Samson proved his worth once again in the games against CSK and KXIP where he scored gritting knocks of 74 and 85 runs respectively and ensured a win for RR .He now has 167 runs in the three matches he played this season and looks in terrific form and can be easily relied on to go and make big scores in the middle overs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli to be Royal Challengers Bangalore top batsman at 2.25
Yuzvendra Chahal to be Royal Challengers Bangalore top bowler at 2.50
Steve Smith to be Rajasthan Royals top batsman at 2.50
Jofra Archer to be Rajasthan Royals top bowler at 2.25