Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore are two sides who have been on the extreme ends of the luck quotient. While the Royals have been helped marginally by luck, the fans of the Royal Challengers can consider themselves unlucky. Two games of the Rajasthan Royals were washed out, which meant that the men in blue got an extra point. In one of those washed out games, they needed to chase 200, while in the other washed out game they had to play against Kolkata in Kolkata. Fair to assert, luck indeed has been a positive factor for the Royals.
The Royal Challengers should have finished in the top 2, but due to the new IPL rule of considering the most wins, it was the Mumbai side which got the benefit. Nevertheless, skipper Kohli would not want to think a lot about his luck. The Royal Challengers are by far the most entertaining and enthralling side in the IPL. They would want to be at their best in Pune, when they lock horns against the Royals on the 20th of May. The winner of this game shall face the loser of the first qualifier. A loss would mean the end of the campaign. Both the teams are high on confidence and all in all, a mouth watering clash is up in stores.
CLASHES THIS SEASON:
The two Royal sides first clashed on the 24th of April in Ahmedabad. This game was among the most one sided games of the tournament. The hosts batted first, only to be restricted to a paltry total of 130-9. It was a poor batting performance as only Steve Smith could get into the 30’s. Mitchell Starc was simply brilliant with the ball and picked up three wickets. The visitors chased down the target without any issues. It was the first time that the revamped batting order for the Royal Challengers was on display. Gayle, Kohli and De Villiers needed no rocket science to finish off the job. In the end, the visitors won by 9 wickets with 23 balls to spare. Kohli remained not out on 62. Starc was duly named the Man of the Match.
The two sides met again just five days later. The Royal Challengers batted first this time around and found a new star in teenager Sarfaraz Khan. The hosts piled up a massive total of 200-7. De Villiers was brilliant for his knock of 57. But it was Sarfaraz Khan who stole the show with his knock of 45 in just 21 balls. Unfortunately, not a single ball was bowled in the second innings as rail played spoilsport. The hosts had a reason to be upset!
The elegant right hander has been in the form of his life for the Royals. His run making spree has been phenomenal and the best part about Rahane’s batting has been that he has made T20 batting look classy. He was off to a fine start against the Knight Riders at the Brabourne, but a run out cut short his brilliance. Rahane has a good record against Bangalore and he would be hoping to excel in the eliminator. The Orange Cap will surely be a massive motivation for Rahane.
With James Faulkner struggling miserably with the ball, the onus is on Morris to deliver. This towering South African was simply outstanding against the Knight Riders and bowled his heart out. Morris has struck with the new ball, and has also remained economical at the death. His role in the Royals is clear indeed. His job is to be attack and take wickets. Safe to say, till now, he has been successful in that role.
This Jamaican has been in good nick off late. He was at his destructive best against the Sunrisers and his knock of 35 (10) provided Royal Challengers with the momentum. Gayle though, has a poor record in knockout games. Against the Royals, he has a perfect opportunity to make amends and change that. He relishes batting when the ball comes on to the bat nicely and the quick outfield in Pune will suit his batting.
Starc is currently the best bowler in colored clothing and no one even dares to doubt that! Starc’s arrival has pumped the Royal Challengers up with positivity and that has been evident the way this side has performed. In the matter of a few games itself, Starc is among the leading wicket takers. He had an off day against the Daredevils but that will only motivate him to be at his best against the Royals.
There will be a tossup between Brainder Sran and Praveen Tambe. Otherwise, it’s a settled unit.
1. A. Rahane 2. S. Watson 3. S. Smith 4. S. Samson 5. K. Nair 6. S. Binny 7. D. Hooda 8. J. Faulkner 9. C. Morris 10. D. Kulkarni 11. P. Tambe / B. Sran
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE:
They will retain the winning combo.
1. C. Gayle 2. V. Kohli 3. AB De Villers 4. D. Karthik 5. S. Khan 6. M. Singh 7. D. Weise 8. M. Starc 9. Y. Chahal 10. H. Patel 11. A.Dinda / S. Aravind