Rajasthan Royals have two of the biggest IPL buys in their ranks in Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat but have had an ordinary start to the Indian Premier League 2018. Their best players are yet to hit their best forms with Sanju Samson and skipper Ajinkya Rahane the only two players who showed promising signs so far. The Royals batting line up will be up for tough test when they face a high spirited Royal Challengers Bangalore at their fortress in Bengaluru on Sunday. Virat Kohli’s men, on the other hand, tasted their first victory of the season after clinching a last over victory against Kings XI Punjab at their home.
Rajasthan Royals were dismal with the bat in Hyderabad where they easily gave away the match to the brilliant pair of Kane Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan without doing much about it. The right-hand left-hand pair of Sunrisers Hyderabad won the match with 4.1 overs to spare with the likes of Jaydev Unadkat and Ben Stokes going for runs. The win against Delhi Daredevils would have given them a bundle of confidence but wasn’t exactly the kind of win that a team can look forward too with rain and Duckworth Lewis making things a bit easy for Ajinkya Rahane and his men as they managed to clinch a 10 runs victory.
Virat Kohli and his troops meanwhile are back to the winning ways after having a poor start to the tournament in Kolkata. Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers were both splendid with the bat and would be looking to give all sorts of reasons to the SRH bowlers to worry. Well, it could have been called a clash between the star-studded RCB batting line up and an equally loaded Sunrisers bowling unit but that’s not the case. Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar, and Kulwant Khejroliya are all in sublime form and are proving words of their captain right. Our bowling will surprise everyone this time around, Kohli had said before the tournament and fair to say Umesh Yadav has justified his statement well.
While they were good with the ball, Rajasthan Royals would be wary of what AB de Villiers is capable of if he gets going. His 40-ball 57 was a teaser of how impactful his presence could be on an opposite side. Before de Villiers though, Brendon McCullum and de Kock can be in daunting trouble to the Rajasthan bowlers who haven’t shown positive signs so far in the tournament. Virat Kohli has also been contained in the first two games by two significantly rookie new spinners who bamboozled him completely with their skills but it’s only a matter of time before the RCB skipper hits his top form and hits back well on the bowlers.
For Ajinkya Rahane, the key to success would be his bowlers who he would look up to for inspiration. In Ben Stokes, Rajasthan Royals have got a man who can change the game with both the bat and the ball. For Kings XI it has been Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, for Mumbai it has been Mayank Markande and for Rajasthan Royals it can be Krishnappa Gowtham. The rookie spinner knows how to bowl in the power play and has the knack for wickets which can prove to be efficient for Rahane. With all-rounder Jofra Archer going well in the nets, Rahane could bring in for Laughlin considering his abilities with the bat and the ball. Looking at RCB’s powerful batting line-up, Archer could be a handy man to have in the side as he can also add further fire to the middle order consisting of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
Here are the probable XIs for the encounter between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore:
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Kulwant Khejroliya
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, D’Arcy Short, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jos Buttler, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer