Rajasthan Royals take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday. (Source: BCCI)
Rajasthan Royals square-off against Royal Challengers Bangalore in a virtual quarter-final at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur in match 53 of the Indian Premier League, 2018 on Saturday. Both teams are currently on 12 points and a loss in this fixture means the end of the road. The difference between the two teams is based on net run rate (NRR). With three consecutive wins RCB has boosted their NRR to +0.264 and a victory by a margin of 40 runs or 24 balls should be enough for them in case of a tie in the points table with any other side. The Royals, on the other hand, are in a spot of bother after losing their match against KKR. With their NRR at -0.403, RR needs a win by a massive margin to topple other teams who will be equal on 14 points. However, they will have to do so without the services of inform Jos Buttler and star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who are set to return to England for national duty.
The last time these two sides met it turned out to be a run fest as Rajasthan scored 217/4 and in reply, RCB fell short by just 19 runs (198/6). However, that encounter was on a belter of a pitch in Bengaluru. The track in Jaipur hasn’t been favourable to batters due to its sticky nature. Hence, spinners are expected to play a big part in this fixture. Yuzvendra Chahal and Ish Sodhi are the two leg-spinners from each side who will have a big role to play in their team’s success. Rajasthan’s bowlers – K Gowtham and leggie Shreyas Gopal have performed well but in patches. For RCB, the absence of Moeen Ali will be a huge void to fill. Young Washington Sundar will be the most likely to replace him.
Before the tie against SRH, RCB head coach Daniel Vettori and skipper Virat Kohli reiterated his side’s desperation to win their remaining games. This was evident during last Thursday’s encounter against Hyderabad where all the three departments clicked as a unit and registered a commanding victory. Rajasthan, on the other hand, has a huge void to fill with the loss of Jos Buttler, who has been Royals highest scorer this season. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane has been off colour in IPL 11 and this game gives him the perfect opportunity to make amends for the past failures. However, the absence of the two Englishmen in the first of the doubleheaders on Saturday gives RCB the edge over RR, who do seem like second favourites.
Sanju Samson struck a fine half-century the last time these two sides met. (Source: IPL)
Rajasthan Royals- Ajinkya Rahane (C), Ankit Sharma Anureet Singh Jofra Archer Stuart Binny Aryaman Birla Jos Buttler (W) Dushmantha Chameera Prashant Chopra Shreyas Gopal Krishnappa Gowtham Heinrich Klaasen Dhawal Kulkarni Ben Laughlin Mahipal Lomror Sudhesan Midhun Sanju Samson Jatin Saxena D’Arcy Short Ish Sodhi Ben Stokes Rahul Tripathi Jaydev Unadkat
Royal Challengers Bangalore – Virat Kohli (C), Moeen Ali Corey Anderson Murugan Ashwin Yuzvendra Chahal Aniket Choudhary Colin de Grandhomme Quinton de Kock (W) Pavan Deshpande AB de Villiers Aniruddha Joshi Sarfaraz Khan Kulwant Khejroliya Brendon McCullum Mandeep Singh Mohammed Siraj Pawan Negi Parthiv Patel Navdeep Saini Tim Southee Manan Vohra Washington Sundar Chris Woakes Umesh Yadav