Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has a fairly straightforward path to the Indian Premier League play-offs. A win in the final game on Sunday, at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, will more or less secure a place in the top-four.
Mumbai Indians (MI) can upset the apple cart, but it has to bridge a NRR gap of 0.308 with RCB. Even here, RCB has an advantage in that MI would have finished its match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) earlier and Faf du Plessis and his men will know exactly what is required.
Two impediments however remain for RCB. Its final opponent is Gujarat Titans (GT), the defending IPL champion and the stand-out team in this year’s edition. There is also the weather. Bengaluru saw widespread evening thunderstorms on Saturday and more is expected on matchday.
Regardless, confidence should be high in the RCB camp after two convincing wins against Rajasthan Royals (by 112 runs) and SRH (by eight wickets). Virat Kohli, with a 63-ball 100 versus SRH, proved that the rare multi-format batter in him was still alive.
Kiwi spin-bowling all-rounder Michael Bracewell has acquitted himself well in the absence of Wanindu Hasaranga, and with Josh Hazlewood on a flight back home following a recurrence of his Achilles injury, Bracewell will hope for a sustained run in the eleven.
GT, though, has all bases covered. Its PowerPlay batting, led by the irrepressible Shubman Gill, is explosive and bowling lethal. It will be to Hardik Pandya’s credit if there is no let up in his side’s approach despite having sewed up a top-of-the-table spot.
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