Battle royale on cards as buoyant Bangalore, Rajasthan lock horns - GulfToday

Battle royale on cards as buoyant Bangalore, Rajasthan lock horns

Royal Challengers Bangalore

RCB players listen to the pep talk of their coach ahead of their match against Rajasthan Royals. Courtesy: Twitter

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) will be facing off in what promises to be one of IPL 2020’s most exciting battles, in the first of Saturday’s double-headers to be played in Abu Dhabi.

Having defeated Mumbai Indians in the Super Over in their last match, Bangalore are brimming with confidence. Their batsmen Devdutt Padikkal, AB De Villiers, Aaron Finch all look in great touch, with the exception of captain Virat Kohli, of whom much is expected.

The best thing about RCB this season has been they do not rely on any one in particular player. Despite the failure of Kohli, Bangalore have done pretty well and posted big totals in the two matches they emerged victorious.

De Villiers has been in great touch from the beginning and has already scored two fifties. He made batting look like a stroll in the park while exhibiting a wide range of embellishments in his vast repertoire. The South African star has averaged 67 with a strike rate of above 180. Padikkal has also shown a great deal of talent and seems to be a potential match winner.

On the other hand, the chips are slightly down in Rajasthan’s camp after their defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders. They failed to chase a target of 175 and were beaten by 37 runs by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their last game.

Prior to the Kolkata clash, Rajasthan showed they were a batting powerhouse, having chased down a record total of 223 against Kings XI Punjab. The loss against Kolkata though has exposed a few chinks in Rajasthan’s armour. After the failure of captain Steve Smith at the top, an abject surrender was witnessed by the rest of the batsmen. They did not look even a pale shadow of the side that overhauled a mammoth 223.

Over-reliance on their top order can be a concern for Rajasthan with Ben Stokes not around and Robin Uthappa yet to find his touch.

Both teams have match winners at the top, ones who can single-handedly win games for their respective teams. Kohli and De Villiers will be wary of the threat that Shreyas Gopal poses.

Bangalore have been sluggish in the field, with their fielders dropping too many catches. While Kohli’s form in the IPL thus far is not much to write about, his class is never in doubt and the RCB skipper may well discover his mojo again sooner than later.

Coach Simon Katich has urged his players to be ruthless in order to stop their opponents from staging a come-from-behind feat.

For Rajasthan apart from Smith, Sanju Samson is the other mainstay in their batting ranks.

Rahul Tewatia has also become an overnight star after hitting five sixes against Sheldon Cottrell of Punjab. Besides, Jofra Archer can play a quick-fire cameo.

In Saturday’s blockbuster, one can expect quite a few minor match-ups as well. Shreyas Gopal will test De Villiers and Kohli with his spin. He has been particularly successful against Bangalore in the past, having taken 12 wickets against them in four matches at an average of 5.17 and dismissing Kohli and De Villeirs three and four times respectively. Gopal is expecting a tough game against Bangalore, who are pushing for their maiden IPL title.

“They are a good team. They started pretty well and have won good games. It is going to be a great contest,” said Gopal in statement released by the team on their social media.

In head-to-head record, Rajasthan have won 10 games, Bangalore 8, with two ending in no results.

Squads: RCB: Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Chris Morris, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shivam Dube, Aaron Finch, Umesh Yadav, Adam Zampa, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Dale Steyn, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Isuru Udana, Devdutt Padikkal, Shahbaz Ahmed, Joshua Philippe, Pavan Deshpande.

RR: Steven Smith, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ben Stokes, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Robin Uthappa, Shashank Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Tom Curran, Anuj Rawat, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Akash Singh, Andrew Tye, Aniruddha Joshi, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Kartik Tyagi, Mayank Markande, Oshane Thomas, Rahul Tewatia, Varun Aaron

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