Getting back on track at Jaipur
Rajasthan Royals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
4 pm Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur
Royal Challengers Bangalore will face a confident Rajasthan Royals, a team with the strongest home record over all seasons of the IPL, in testing conditions at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur on Monday afternoon.
RCB’s match against Mumbai Indians asked uncomfortable questions of the team’s balance; what happens if the bowlers have a bad day and the top 4 get out cheaply?
Virat Kohli has now had 3 poor games with the bat and having been in contention for the Orange Cap earlier, he will want to get back among the runs. Tillakaratne Dilshan has not been able to put up the kind of performances expected from an international player at the top of the order but he will be given another chance to claim his spot. Saurabh Tiwary’s inadequate contribution against Mumbai was no boost to Kohli’s confidence either but the Jharkhand southpaw should get another chance at Jaipur too.
The pitch has helped the Royal’s seamers with James Faulkner turning in a bunch of nerveless performances to restrict oppositions at Jaipur. RCB’s pace quartet of RP Singh, Vinay Kumar, Ravi Rampaul and Jaydev Unadkat too should do well at the venue but will have to watch out for Shane Watson who seems to have struck rich form over the past few matches. Watson adds teeth to the Royals bowling attack as well now that he has started turning his arm over for the franchise.
Chris Gayle will again have to face Ajit Chandila with or without Ankeet Chavan for support as Rajasthan will try to exploit his tentative approach against spin early in his innings. RCB too might want to bring in the experienced Kartik Murali in place of Syed Mohammad who has been too expensive to continue.
Ajinkya Rahane has churned runs regularly even if he has been slower in his scoring this season. Rahul Dravid always performs against the franchise from his hometown and remains a threat along with Stuart Binny, another Karnataka player in the Royals squad.
The loss against Mumbai was a jolt but it gave RCB clear directions on the departments they will have to improve in. With their away leg having just started it is important they don’t let the loss affect them and get back to winning. The Royals are a hard opponent to put away, especially at home but this is exactly the challenge RCB need to overcome on their way to sealing a spot in the play offs. Good luck to them.