Rajasthan Royals failed to chase down a modest total against Chennai while Bangalore faltered against Kolkata © IANS
Rajasthan Royals failed to chase down a modest total against Chennai while Bangalore faltered against Kolkata © IANS

 

By R Vishal

 

Apr 25, 2014

 

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 gathering pace and heading towards a close of the first leg of the tournament, the 14th match of the tournament will be between Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Abu Dhabi. Both teams have had morale sapping losses recently and this encounter will be a test of who can summon their mental strength to get across the finish line more than their firepower.

 

Both Rajasthan and Bangalore made the starts that were looking for in the tournament. Despite being in good situations, Rajasthan failed to capitalise in their following games and slumped to defeats while Bangalore endured a big kick in their teeth after an agonising defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders by two runs despite being in the drivers’ seat for almost the entire match.

 

On paper, as it was suggested before IPL 2014 began, Bangalore have the firepower in their top order that will be the envy of many franchises. Apart from the two premier batsmen in the world at the moment — AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel has turned over a new leaf and even Yogesh Takawale scored a breezy knock in the last game. IPL and Bangalore fans have been robbed of Chris Gayle’s rain of sixes and it remains to be seen if the flamboyant West Indian makes his first appearance of this edition.

 

It is evident that Rajasthan are a work in progress and may struggle to replicate their superlative displays in last year’s IPL and Champions League T20. Sanju Samson has taken off from where he left last year and is doing no harm to his burgeoning reputation in this year’s IPL as well. Shane Watson is still learning about leading the team and the Australian all-rounder will take time to find the right mixture of experience and youth with his fledgling team. Watson’s captaincy has been impressive in patches but he knows that his team has to seize the crucial moments of the game, as both of his team’s losses could have been wins had they shown a little more application and siege mentality.

 

To slump to a defeat from a sure-shot winning position against Kolkata ought to have taken its toll on Kohli’s men, as it was evident in their heart-broken faces at the end of the game. As mentioned earlier, this duel will be a test of character and resilience more than cricketing abilities

 

Squads:

 

Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Ankush Bains, James Faulkner, Pravin Tambe, Kevon Cooper, Unmukt Chand, Steven Smith, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Iqbal Abdullah, Karun Nair, Vikramjeet Malik, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kane Richardson, Dishant Yagnik (wk), Tim Southee, Rahul Tewatia, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra.

 

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Chris Gayle, Parthiv Patel (wk), Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers, Albie Morkel, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mitchell Starc, Ravi Rampaul, Vijay Zol, Sachin Rana, Yogesh Takawale, Nic Maddinson, Sandeep Warrier, Tanmay Mishra, Harshal Patel, Shadab Jakati, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Ashok Dinda, Varun Aaron, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Time: 16:00 IST | 10:30 GMT

 

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(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian School of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)