Jaipur, May 18: A rejuvenated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will face Rajasthan Royals (RR) in a do-or-die Indian Premier League (IPL) game at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Saturday.
Fresh from a nail-biting win over Sunrisres Hyderabad on Thursday, the Virat Kohli-led side will be looking to continue the same performance to seal a play-off berth as they also carry a better net run-rate (NRR) than their opponents.
On the other hand, Rasjasthan lost their last encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders and with their NRR at -0.403, the hosts need a win by a huge margin.
Both the sides have 12 points from 13 games and Saturday’s match will decide their fate in the ongoing season as a loss will be the end of the road for one of them.
The last time these two sides met, Rajasthan scored 217/4 batting first and later restricted Bangalore at 198/6 to win the match by 19 runs.
Bangalore carries a formidable batting line-up with the likes of Kohli, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Mandeep Singh and Moeen Ali, who came with impressive show against Hyderabad on Tursday.
Bangalore’s batting, more or less, will once again rely on the shoulders of de Villers and Kohli, who have gathered 427 and 526 runs respectively so far.
While Kohli failed against Hyderabad, de Villers blast 69 off 39 to help Bangalore post a amassive total.
In the bowling, RCB’s bowlers struggled to stop Kane Williamson (81 off 42) and Manish Pandey (62 off 38) before Mohammed Siraj held his nerve to bowl a fine last over, conceding just five runs besides packing off a well-settled Hyderabad skipper.
Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee will lead the pace attack while Siraj will be eyeing to continue with his last-match show.
Yuzvendra Chahal will once again hand the variety to their spin attack.
Coming to Rajasthan, the hosts will miss the services of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, who will return to England for national duty.
Butler has been the key for Rajasthan’s batting after smashing five consecutive fifties in his last six games and his absence will surely hurt the Ajinkya Rahane-led side.
Rahane has also not been in the best of form, managing to accumulate just 291 runs from 12 innings.
Sanju Samson looks good with 391 runs from 13 games but has not fired in the last few games.
Rahul Tripathi, Stuart Binny, DJM Short and Jofra Archer have also not lived up to expectations with the bat.
The bowling unit lacks depth as only Archer has come with some impressive shows in the last few games but absence of support from the others is a cause of concern for Rajasthan.
Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni and K Gowtham have been below par so far and needs to come out with thier best to stop a star-studded Bangalore batting line up.
Bangalore however, will be the favourites in Saturday’s crucial clash, which could be seen as a virtual semi-final. IANS