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By B D Narayankar
Bangalore: May 10, 2014
Hammered in their previous match, the struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will face another tough battle when they take on the resolute Rajasthan Royals (RR) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 match.
Bangalore were crushed by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on Friday and it will take some effort to recover from the thrashing handed out by David Miller.
Rajasthan, on the other hand, were overwhelmed by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on the back of an inspiring bowling performance in their last match.
Led by feisty Virat Kohli, Bangalore are struggling to keep their chances alive in the contest, having already suffered five defeats in eight games to be placed sixth, while Rajasthan are placed third in the points table with five wins and three reverses in the eight-team tournament.
Having failed to exploit the home advantage to get back the momentum, Bangalore’s famed batting lineup will hope to click against the dogged Rajasthan.
RCB started off well, winning their first two games, and that too, without Chris Gayle, but things went awry after that as they suffered three reverses in the UAE.
Having come back after missing Bangalore’s first four games due to a hamstring injury, Gayle has been explosive in short stints and is looking for that big one.
Skipper Kohli has appeared off-colour in the last few games and the 25-year-old would also be eager to get a big score. Yuvraj Singh, who was bought for a whopping Rs 14 crore by team owner Vijay Mallya, has not been able to live upto the billing.
AB de Villiers, who blazed away with another heroic effort smashing 53 off 26 balls in a losing battle against Punjab, would look to continue this devastating form in the remaining six matches.
RCB’s bowling attack looks balanced with pacer Varun Aaron (12 wickets), Mitchell Starc (11) and leg-spinner Yuzwendra Chahal (10) up their ranks. Leg-spinner Chahal has been the surprise package for RCB. Apart from the one against Hyderabad, he has picked up wickets in every game.
On the other hand, having lost to Hyderabad in their last encounter, Rajasthan would like to get back their winning momentum. Shane Watson has been the key man in Rajasthan setup and it will be no different this time around.
The Aussie, who bagged three wickets for 13 in the last match, will look to get a big score with the willow, after having managed just 11 runs against Hyderabad.
The young Karun Nair has shown promise at the top of the order and Rajasthan can expect a lot from him. Ajinkya Rahane, who went for a duck in the last game, would look to get into the groove big time against Bangalore.
For the opposition bowlers, there is also the talented Sanju Samson and Steven Smith. The 42-year-old leg-spinner Pravin Tambe continues to catch attention with his impressive performance.
Even with the ball, Watson always has been in the thick of action. Rajasthan bowlers showed a lot of character when they restricted Hyderabad to 134 for nine before eventually losing the game.
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