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By Shrikant Shankar
May 10, 2014
A morale-stricken Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) host Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 on May 11. This is Match 35 in IPL 7 and will be played in Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. RCB enter this tie after back-to-back losses. Rajasthan also come on the back of a loss, so, both the teams will be looking to get back to winning ways. A loss for Bangalore would make their chances of qualifying for the play-offs even harder. A loss for Rajasthan would enhance the other teams’ chances of catching up.
Bangalore were walloped by Kings XI Punjab on May 9 at their own home ground. This has put Virat Kohli’s side in a difficult situation with only six points from eight matches. Bangalore were always strong at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, but form played a huge part on Friday as Punjab continued their bulldozing tactics and came away with a 32-run win. Kohli is in a spot of bother as his bowlers are leaking runs and his batsmen are not turning on the screws. Chris Gayle has not yet had that great, fast, long innings in the IPL so far. Kohli himself has struggled to spend time in the middle and Yuvraj Singh also has not got up to his high levels.
In two of the last three matches, AB de Villiers has been left with too much to do. While he excelled against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the task was far greater against Punjab and could not carry Bangalore through. In the bowling, Bangalore were not up to the mark, but that can be expected against the indomitable Punjab batting. Mitchell Starc, Varun Aaron and Yuzvendra Chahal have been impressive on the whole for Bangalore, but the others have not been up to the task. The re-introduction of Albie Morkel proved the right decision as he was their best bowler and showed glimpses of his batting ability.
Rajasthan were stunned by Hyderabad at Ahmedabad on May 8. After restricting the Sunrisers to a low total, Shane Watson’s team were bundled out for a far lesser score. That brought to an end a four-match winning streak. Rajasthan have a solid unit, but they are not Punjab. They do not possess the batting power of Punjab, but have an equal if not better bowling attack. Pravin Tambe and Watson have both taken hat-tricks in consecutive matches respectively. That means confidence is high and they will be a handful against Bangalore’s bowlers.
Slow-medium bowler Rajat Bhatia has not been easy to get away with. He got three wickets against Hyderabad. Then James Faulkner and Kane Richardson are there to spearhead the pace bowling. Dhawal Kulkarni is probably the main weak-link in their bowling ranks. Both Bangalore and Rajasthan comes into this match with losses in their previous match. Rajasthan sit in third position in the IPL 7 Points Table with 10 points after eight matches. Bangalore are in sixth place. A Bangalore victory will further open up the IPL 7 season. But a Rajasthan win will extend that gap.
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.
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.
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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