The Royal battle resumes after a gap of two years as the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) take on the Rajasthan Royals (RR). The home team will have the upper edge against a fragile batting line up of Rajasthan who managed to escape with a win in their previous encounter against the Delhi Daredevils!
The decision to bat Rahul Tripathi at number five continues to baffle the experts as D’Arcy Short was run out once again for a single digit score. There are no doubts about the big hitting abilities that Short possesses and two run outs have not allowed him to showcase his skills, but what the Royals need to realize is that playing four openers in their top six is affecting their death overs batting as well. Sanju Samson has been the only shining light for the Royals and a full game will test their bowlers as well.
The worrying thing for RR would be the fact that Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers found form in their previous game and even more worrying would be the fact that Virat Kohli is yet to fire! Brendon McCullum got out for a duck in his last outing and if all four manage to click then it could mean curtains for RR.
From the perspective of finding form, even Ben Stokes is yet to deliver for the Royals and RCB will be well aware of his destructive capabilities. Once again, they would be relying on Umesh Yadav who has bowled with hostility and control in the opening two games and has accounted for some big names already. Having fallen down the pecking order of the Indian pace battery, Yadav is sending strong reminders to Kohli about his capabilities.
Given the star-studded line up of RCB, the challenge will no doubt be on the RR bowlers to deliver the goods. If they manage to get three of the top four big guns early, they might just shift the odds in their favor!
Expect and unchanged XI from RCB unless they would want to replace Sarfaraz Khan, who has had scores of six and zero so far, with Manan Vohra.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfraz Khan/Manan Vohra, Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kulwant Khejroliya.
Dropping D’Arcy Short could be a harsh decision, given the fact that he was run out in both matches. However, they could strengthen their bowling by bringing in Jofra Archer for Short and have Stuart Binny come in for Shreyas Gopal. An out of the box choice would be to bring in Heinrich Klaasen for Short, although that appears unlikely.
Rajasthan Royals – Ajinkya Rahane (c), D’Arcy Short/ Jofra Archer, Sanju Samson (wk), Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal/ Stuart Binny, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin
* Rajasthan’s previous fixture against Delhi saw Jaydev Unadkat bowl his 1000th delivery in the IPL without ever overstepping. He is the only fast bowler in the tournament to bowl 1000 plus balls without bowling a single no ball.
* RCB’s win against Kings XI Punjab the other night was their first in 12 games with AB de Villiers in the side.
* Umesh Yadav has now won seven man of the match awards in the IPL – the most by a specialist fast bowler in the tournament. Ashish Nehra comes second with six.
April 15, 2018
16:00 hours IST
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
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