The two teams clashing today are both desperately in need of a win to bring back their campaign on the right track. Both RCB and GL are languishing at the bottom of the table at the last and second last position respectively. A spirited performance tonight might do their confidence a world of good.
The wicket at Rajkot is one of the flattest decks in this IPL. Hence, we may be in for a treat with some of the best batsmen in the world in action. The highest total on this track this IPL is 184, scored by KKR when they defeated Gujarat Lions, while the lowest score is 171 by the RPS. With the pitch providing little or no assistance to the bowlers, we can be in for another high scoring contest.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE – STRENGTHS
On paper, RCB is one of the strongest teams in the tournament. With world-class players such as Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in their ranks, it might not take long for RCB to make a strong comeback like they did in 2016. Kohli and de Villiers have already shown glimpses of their brilliance, and at Rajkot, they will have the perfect platform to launch themselves. Kedar Jadhav has also shown that he is capable of winning crucial matches with his big hitting. On the bowling front, Samuel Badree has been brilliant for them, even notching up a hat-trick. Yuzuvendra Chahal has also shown a lot of promise in the first few matches and RCB would expect him to deliver. With Tymal Mills and Adam Milne both bowling well, RCB would need to make a wise choice. Pawan Negi and Sreenath Aravind are also crucial cogs in RCB’s bowling department.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE – CONCERNS
The indifferent form of Shane Watson and Chris Gayle will be a major cause of concern for RCB. Watson and Gayle have only scored 60 runs each this IPL. Watson has also been unimpressive and expensive while bowling. Mandeep Singh, Pawan Negi and Stuart Binny have been below average with the bat until now. The entire RCB batting depends on just 3 in-form players and that is a huge worry for Vettori. The bowling is a tad inexperienced and that may backfire on a flat track like Rajkot.
GUJARAT LIONS – STRENGTHS
After a disastrous start to their campaign, the Gujarat Lions have made a few changes which are making them look like a more settled unit now. After the return of Ravindra Jadeja, the Lions may get another boost, as there are rumors of Dwayne Bravo attaining enough fitness to take the field tonight. Brendon McCullum and DR Smith are a proven opening combination and they can take the Lions off to a flyer. Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik form a solid middle order and are expected to provide stability to the batting order. Andrew Tye has been absolutely brilliant for the Gujarat Lions picking up 7 wickets in 2 matches. He can prove to be a match winner on his own with his variations. The young Basil Thampi has also been impressive along with the experienced Munaf Patel.
GUJARAT LIONS – CONCERNS
The inexperience of batsman like Ishan Kishan may prove to be a cause of concern, as he did not seem to be in good touch in the previous game. Aaron Finch or Jason Roy would have to bat in the middle order which is not their regular position. This may reduce their effectiveness. The bowling of the Lions has been woeful and against a strong batting lineup like RCB, they would need to pull their socks up. Praveen Kumar has to bring his experience into play. Their main concern would be the lack of a decent spinner to support Ravindra Jadeja. Shivil Kaushik and Shadab Jakati have been extremely disappointing. The Lions need to balance their team well against a strong opponent like RCB.
RCB – Virat Kohli, Mandeep Singh, AB de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav, Sachin Baby, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Adam Milne, Yuzuvendra Chahal, Samuel Badree, Sreenath Aravind.
GL – Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Aaron Finch/Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishan Kishan, Praveen Kumar, Andrew Tye, Munaf Patel, Basil Thampi.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 3, RCB won – 2, GL won – 1
CONCLUSION AND MATCH PREDICTION
Both RCB and GL would like to take this opportunity to get back to winning ways and lift themselves from the bottom of the table. A lot will depend on the toss as the team chasing has won both the matches at Rajkot in this IPL. With fireworks expected in the clash of the bottom 2 sides, here’s what we predict for this match.
TOSS – RCB wins and opts to field.
1ST INNINGS SCORE – 185-195
MATCH – RCB win by 6-8 wickets.
TOSS – GL wins and opts to field.
1ST INNINGS SCORE – 190-200
MATCH – GL win by 4-6 wickets.