IPL 2019: Rajasthan takes on RCB hoping for a miracle

Royal Challengers Bangalore will aim for a big win against Rajasthan Royals when the teams face off at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals will look up to their batting department to fire when it takes on Royal Challengers Bangalore.   -  AFP

Mathematically, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is still in with a chance to qualify for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 play-offs; a miniscule spot of a chance which needs a mighty rub of luck. Rajasthan Royals, which will be RCB’s next opponent at M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday,  is also chasing the odds to secure a playoff spot, though the team is slightly better placed on the scale of probability to achieve success considering it has two points (10) more than the Royal Challengers.

FOLLOW RCB vs RR LIVE

For starters, RCB needs massive wins in the last two matches to gain 12 points. It needs all the batsmen to fire and compile record scores and bundle out opponents — Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers — for paltry totals. The wins should be massive enough to change the net run-rate from the negative to the positive.

It then needs the top three teams — Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians to keep on winning and then hope for all the results — except for the insignificant match between table toppers DC and CSK) to go exactly in a way which will allow the teams currently placed fourth and below to secure no more than 12 points. These teams should also perform poorly enough to slump to a worse run rate than Royal Challengers Bangalore.

READ | Warner, Rashid shine as Hyderabad beats Punjab to keep playoff hopes alive

Virat Kohli, for all the superhuman batting skills he possesses, is a realist.

Shortly after the loss to Delhi Capitals on Sunday that all but ended RCB’s hopes of playoff qualification, skipper Kohli said: “We put ourselves under too much pressure in the first six games and then it is always hard work in the latter half. We just decided to have a lot of fun and that’s why we won four out of the last six games we have played.

“The important thing now, with two games left, is to go out there and have fun. Not take too much pressure. We have to go out there and play positive cricket. Once the last two games are done, we will sit down and see where the tournament had gone for us,” he said.

RCB pacer Navdeep Saini is yet to master the art of death bowling   -  G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

 

South African pacer Dale Steyn, during his brief two-match stint with RCB, brought with him an influx of energy and speed and gave a fresh lease of life for the woefully inept pace department. The team got its initial burst of wickets and fortunes swung in the team’s favour, albeit a little too late.

With its big influencer out of the picture because of a shoulder strain, it is left to Navdeep Saini and Umesh Yadav to inspire the side lacking depth in fast-bowling reserves.

ALSO READ | ‘The more I padded up, the better I have felt’ - Smith’s parting words

The team also missed the services of Moeen Ali in the match against  Delhi Capitals where its middle-order broke down despite a solid start from the top-order through Parthiv Patel and Virat Kohli. Ali, back in England for the national camp, offered stability and an extra bowling option for the Royal Challengers. The team’s biggest flaw season after season has been its heavy reliance on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to help come up trumps in games.

 

Rajasthan Royals, too, has had an underwhelming season so far. It is only marginally better than Royal Challengers with five wins in 12 matches. The team, though, has seen a resurgence after Steve Smith took over the captaincy from Ajinkya Rahane. The former Australian skipper will be playing his last IPL match of the season in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

The Australian, who landed heavily on his operated elbow while taking the catch of David Warner against Sunrisers Hyderabad allayed injury concerns. “I just landed on it quite heavily. Obviously, from surgery, I have still got some scar tissue and the impact of the landing just affected it a little bit but there is nothing wrong with it, it’s all good.”

Rahane, free of captaincy pressure, has also broken the shackles and has been contributing handsomely with the bat.

Shreyas Gopal, Steve Smith

Shreyas Gopal has been a consistent performer for Rajasthan Royals this season.   -  PTI

 

Shreyas Gopal was extremely successful, claiming the wickets of AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Shimron Hetmyer the last time the two teams played. He has been in good form and will look to do his bit again to aid his team’s cause. Smith was full of praise for the leg-spinner.

“He has been terrific for us. Everytime we have given him the ball, he has done the job for us. He has taken wickets. He has got big players out, which is really important. He is bowling good variations, both in his pace and different balls like googlies and sliders and leg-spinners. He is mixing things up which I think is what you need to do as a leg-spinner.

RELATED | How leg-spinners have fared in IPL 2019

Teenager Riyan Prayag has been an asset since his late entry to the team and has delivered consistently in the batting department.

Varun Aaron, after making his Royals debut against RCB earlier this month, has impressed with the new ball in the last two outings. He also walked away with the Man-of the-Match award for his performance against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.  

Against Rajasthan Royals, which no longer has the services of Englishmen Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, RCB requires nothing less than an inspirational win to give its unrelenting fans the will to keep hoping for a miracle.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos