IPL 2019 RCB vs RR Match 49: Will Virat Kohli be rested? Can Rajasthan stay alive?
Will Royal Challengers Bangalore dash Rajasthan Royals' IPL playoff hopes? © BCCI

Today’s IPL match pits together the two teams sitting at the bottom of the 2019 points table, basement dwellers Royal Challengers Bangalore and seventh-placed Rajasthan Royals.

Hosts Royal Challengers will look to give their forgettable IPL 2019 campaign a semblance of respectability and dash Royals; faint playoffs hopes.

Ahead of match 49, here are the talking points:

Can Rajasthan stay alive in playoff hunt?

The franchise is mathematically in with a chance for the IPL playoffs, needing to win both their games and hopes that other results go their way. Coming off consecutive wins – a feat they did not manage before this season – RR will be buoyant.

The best-case scenario for Rajasthan is that they beat RCB and Delhi Capitals and then hope that Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab all end up with 12 points. In this situation, net run-rates will not matter and RR would go through.

But with a net run-rate of -0.321, Rajasthan do need to improve that aspect.

(READ: IPL 2019 points table, Orange Cap and Purple Cap holders standings)

Virat Kohli rested RCB vs RR
With RCB all but out of the playoffs, is it time to rest Virat Kohli? © BCCI

Time for RCB to rest Virat Kohli?

Bangalore need a miracle to make the IPL playoffs. All but out of the tournament, and with the World Cup a month away, could it be that RCB give their skipper Virat Kohli a break?

Kohli is second on RCB’s run-table this season with 423 at 35.25 and a strike-rate of 134.71, with one century and two half-centuries. Low numbers by his high standards, and his captaincy has also been disappointing.

While Kohli is not one to drop himself, it could be that the time has come to allow India’s captain and most valuable player time to rest before the World Cup.

(READ: Dream11 predictions for RCB vs RR)

Farewell, Australians

This will be the last game for the remaining Australian cricketers in the IPL, Steven Smith and Marcus Stoinis. The pair will leave for Australia to join their team-mates in Brisbane for a pre-World Cup training camp, following the likes of David Warner and Jason Behrendorff out of the IPL.

For Rajasthan, who already lost Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer, the departure of Smith is another huge blow. Smith, appointed skipper a couple of weeks ago, has scored 319 runs in 10 innings at a strike-rate of 116.

For RCB, the allrounder Stoinis has 211 runs at a strike-rate of 136.12 and just two wickets at an economy of 8.70.

RCB vs RR where to watch
Steve Smith will hope to bow out of IPL 2019 with a win for Rajasthan Royals. © BCCI

(READ: The candidates to replace outgoing Australian, England and South African cricketers)

Hetmyer, Klaasen or de Grandhomme?

Once again, RCB have decisions to take regarding their overseas players. With Moeen Ali gone before the previous match, the team management brought in South African wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen who made 3.

West Indies talent Shimron Hetymer has been a disappointment in his first IPL season, scoring 15 runs in four innings. The New Zealand allrounder Colin de Grandhomme has 37 runs in three innings and is another option RCB could look at for this match.

Shreyas Gopal’s homecoming

For Rajasthan, Shreyas Gopal‘s wristspin has been a big plus this season: 15 wickets an an economy of 7.30 is the highest for the franchise. Back at the M Chinaswamy Stadium, Gopal will feel right at home for this is his home venue with Karnataka in domestic cricket.

In List A matches at the M Chinaswamy Stadium, Gopal has claimed 12 wickets at an average of 21.41 and economy of 5.48. In one T20 match at the venue, he took 2/22 in four overs.

The last time RR met RCB in the IPL on Jaipur on April 2, Gopal had a big role with figures of 4-1-12-3 including the wickets of Kohli, AB de Villiers and Hetmyer. Will RCB have their revenge, or will the local man come up aces again?