RR, RCB, IPL 2018, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane
RR defeated RCB by 19 runs in the first match of IPL 2018 © AFP

Rajasthan Royals (RR) will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur, in a do-or-die encounter for both sides, in Match 53 of Vivo IPL 2018. Both sides are tied on 12 points each, with RCB ahead on net run rate. A win for either side will push them to 14 (but not guarantee a place in the Playoffs), though it will be very difficult for RR, given their woeful net run rate, to qualify even if they do.

The teams have an 8:8 head-to-head ratio, so there is little to choose. RR had won the last faceoff by 19 runs. Sanju Samson’s unbeaten 92 had helped them post 217 on that occasion. Virat Kohli had played a lone hand in response, with little assistance from his teammates.

However, RCB will be high on confidence after defeating table-topper Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). They had posted 218 against the best bowling attack of the tournament with AB de Villiers (69), Moeen Ali (65) and Colin de Grandhomme (40) all clicking. Kohli did not score big in the last few games but all are aware of his performances in such occasions.

RR will miss the services of Head Coach Shane Warne, last year’s MVP Ben Stokes, and their most in-form batsman Jos Buttler. It will take them some effort to overcome the triple blow. They have been heavily dependent on Buttler.

RR lost their last game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Only three batsmen managed to score more than 20 as RR were bowled out for 142 in 19 overs. In the second innings, Stokes kept RR in hunt with 3 for 15, but the KKR batting was too strong to contain.

Rajasthan Royals Likely XI: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, D’Arcy Short, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi.

Royal Challengers Bangalore Likely XI: Virat Kohli (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), AB de Villiers, Sarfraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal

Predictions: RR can be formidable even in the absence of their big guns. They will sorely miss Buttler, who has been scoring most of their runs. The RCB bowlers, who had bowled out Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for 88, will fancy their chances against RR as well. Both teams will come hard at each other to keep their Playoffs dream alive. With 3 consecutive wins, RCB will look to continue their momentum as they start as favourites.