RCB will look to extend home dominance in royal clash
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals 8 PM
M Chinaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
The M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore will see the clash of the IPL’s royals, the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals on Saturday night.
Rajasthan are coming off a crushing win against the in-form Mumbai Indians while Royal Challengers survived a batting collapse and a Super Over finish against wooden spoon holders Delhi Daredevils. Both teams have 4 wins but the Royals have one more game in hand and their wins have been bigger, the one loss coming after an off day for the bowlers in Pune.
The 3 day break has been RCB’s longest so far in the tournament and they should be recharged and ready for a go at Rajasthan.
Ajinkya Rahane has overtaken Rahul Dravid as the Royals leading batsman with his steady knocks. He has not looked completely in control and will want to hit the kind of rhythm which saw him score a hundred at the same ground last year. Brad Hodge, Stuart Binny and Dishant Yagnik have supported the top order well with brisk knocks in the middle order as well. James Faulkner and Kevon Cooper can bat a bit too but the biggest batting threat they possess is Shane Watson.
The Royal’s bowlers have come off a stunning dismantling of a powerful Mumbai line up with contributions from all pacers. But the slide was triggered by Ajit Chandila’s tricky off spin at the start and Rahul Dravid will be tempted to open with him against Chris Gayle. Despite his excellent 0/10, Ankeet Chavan could make way for Sreesanth on the Bangalore pitch. Shaun Tait could possibly replace either Hodge or Cooper with Ashok Menaria coming in to strengthen the batting. Siddharth Trivedi has been consistent and will be another threat for the RCB batsmen with his innocuous looking medium pace.
Virat Kohli too has changes to ponder over in his side. RP Singh’s uninspiring run in two games could see him make way for another pacer, RCB have Pankaj Singh in their ranks to rattle the opposition in tandem with Ravi Rampaul. Vinay Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat have been consistently good and will play an important role in containing local batsmen Dravid and Binny who will be in the opposition ranks.
KL Rahul seemed like a good replacement for Mayank Agarwal at the top and will get another shot at opening the batting. Andrew McDonald picked up a wicket first ball but his poor batting display against Delhi could see him concede his place to Muttiah Muralitharan while Arun Karthik could make way for Sheldon Jackson.
AB de Villiers mentioned how RCB’s batting collapse against Delhi had exposed the top heaviness of the side. Still it would better if Kohli, being in the terrific form, takes responsibility along with Gayle and de Villiers to set up and finish off games.
Rahul Dravid will return to his home town, this time facing the same Kohli he had nurtured in IPL 2008 as rival captain. It will be a big test for Kohli but he has already laid a great platform with his leadership by run scoring, a win would be the cherry on the top.