Royal rumble at Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals
Sunday, April 15th 8 pm
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on the Rajasthan Royals at their homeground the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
12 balls, the 20th over of the RCB innings and 19th of the CSK innings saw RCB concede a game they mostly dominated.
The very obvious problem they faced was an expensive fifth bowler and that will be addressed if Harshal Patel is fit and ready to play. Otherwise they might have to take a punt on Ryan Ninan or Abrar Kazi given the doubt over the fitness of Sreenath Aravind and Syed Mohammad.
Chris Gayle staying off the field with a groin niggle in the second innings is a bigger worry, his part time bowling was sorely missed. The Jamaican will relish the medium pace offerings of the RR bowling and could score more off them than Kieron Pollard did a few days ago at the Wankhede in Mumbai.
Under Rahul Dravid, RR have made good use of their medium pace army and spinners to contest tough games. Given the way KKR’s pacers troubled RCB, they might prove hard to put away unless Gayle gets on top early.
The spinners on both sides are quality bowlers but RR hold an extra option with Menaria. Menaria and Botha can also double up as handy batsmen giving the RR batting a depth that RCB lack. The contrast is starker when Saurabh Tiwary and Cheteshwar Pujara’s below par show is taken into consideration.
RCB’s pacers did a good enough job barring Bhatkal but the IPL is his platform to learn from and against world class performers. Vinay’s loss of control in the final over will be something he has to work on, he was lucky not to have been removed from the attack in his last over after he bowled his second beamer of the game.
RR will face a problem when if Kevon Cooper is fit to play before the game. He is their highest wicket-taker, a powerful batsman and one of the best buys of the season. His return may have to see Brad Hodge sit out with Brad Hogg having cemented his place.
Dravid, Rahane, Menaria and Shah won’t be as devastating at the top as Gayle, Agarwal, de Villiers and Kohli but they can put a solid total or chase it down between them. The threat remains for them though with Gayle and company capable of posting totals in excess of 200 regularly.
Both teams lost to KKR recently and RR played a closer game so they will fancy their chances at the M Chinnaswamy. At the helm they have in Dravid a man who knows the M Chinnaswamy pitch inside out and will have planned meticulously. It remains to be seen if RCB can surprise them with their intensity.