Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), buoyed by notching up two wins in three matches thus far, enters the field against Rajasthan Royals (RR) full of confidence. The good start to the campaign, a welcome change from the early stutters suffered in earlier editions, even prompted RCB leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to state that there is “special, different feeling” among players.
The build up
It is RR, however, which holds a slight 10-8 head-to-head advantage over RCB.
The afternoon start will mean that dew will not play a major role. This will come as a boon for spinners, who will have no difficulty gripping the ball. RR and RCB will be tested in unfamiliar conditions, as both sides are set to make their first appearance at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Steve Smith. (Photo: BCCI/IPL) – BCCI/IPL
RCB is likely to use the same eleven that won a Super Over thriller against Mumbai Indians on Monday. RR, on the other hand, will have concerns surrounding leg spinner Shreyas Gopal, who has conceded 87 runs in the last two matches.
The key men:
Chahal, RCB’s most successful bowler with five wickets, can wreak havoc with his flight and accurate googly. The poor form of Virat Kohli, with scores of 14, 1 and 3 so far, is a big worry for RCB. There can be no denying the fact that if RCB hopes to be a genuine title contender, the skipper has to come good.
Yuzvendra Chahal. (Photo: BCCI/IPL) – BCCI/IPL
If form pacer Jofra Archer can slice through the RCB top-order, it could tilt the match heavily in RR’s favour.
The afternoon start means that the toss will not play a significant role. With no dew concerns in the second innings, the accepted T20 norm of ‘win toss, field first’ does not apply.
Rajasthan Royals: 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.
RCB: Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Chris Morris, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shivam Dubey, 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 Ahamad, Joshua Philippe, Pavan Deshpande.