Finally the knockout stage for RCB is here. They need to win all their matches from now on to have a chance to qualify for the playoffs. With their last encounter washed away, RCB have just two wins and a point from their 8 matches. With memories of the thrashing by KKR still fresh in their minds, they would like to show some purpose here and put the first right step on the tough road ahead. Here are the Match Preview and Predictions as the RCB take on the Gujarat Lions in a MUST WIN match.
Gujarat Lions are languishing at the floor of the points table .With four points in 7 matches, they need to win six out of their last seven matches to remain in contention to qualify for eliminators. In their last match, they lost to KIngs XI Punjab at their home ground which was a fortress for them in 2016.
The last match here at Chinnaswamy stadium between SRH and RCB was washed out without a ball bowled. According to a forecast for Thursday, one can expect one or two rain spells or thundershowers. The pitch has been on a slower side and the spinners could come into play. The highest score here this season is 161.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE – STRENGTHS
With virtual knockout up their throats, Virat Kohli and co. might just get the push they required to kick off their winning momentum. Yuzvendra Chahal and Samuel Badree have always answered their skipper’s calls with wickets.
Brendom McCullum’s poor record against them could make RCB open their bowling with two leg spinners. Pawan Negi has also made a valuable contribution. Tymal Mills has been good with the new ball as well as at death.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE – WEAKNESSES
RCB batsmen have failed to live upto their names. The middle order inexperience and Kedar Jadhav’s poor form has put too much pressure on the first three. The lack of fourth and fifth bowlers has allowed the opposition to get away with runs. The aggression and positive intent is missing from the RCB camp and it is high time that they pull up their socks.
GUJARAT LIONS – STRENGTHS
Gujarat Lions have one of the most formidable batting line ups in the tournament. Brendon McCullum has been consistent on the top. Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik are also amongst runs. Andrew Tye has provided the Lions breakthroughs on regular basis.
GUJARAT LIONS – WEAKNESSES
Their bowling woes have haunted them this season. They have the worst economy rate and have taken fewer wickets than any other team. They are still searching for the right playing XI. Dwayne Smith has come as a cropper and Ravindra Jadeja’s poor form is also a concern for them. Aaron Finch hasn’t provided them the starts they would expect from him.
RCB – Since RCB need to win all their remaining matches, they would be hungry to find the right combination. Harpreet Singh could make a debut in place of Mandeep Singh. Even Gayle could be made to sit out and make way for Travis Head or Shane Watson. Sachin Baby can also make it to the playing XI in place of Stuart Binny. Kohli knows that a win is only good enough when the RCB take on the Gujarat Lions in a MUST WIN match.
Virat Kohli (capt.), Chris Gayle, Harpreet Singh, AB de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Samuel Badree, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sreenath Aravind
GL – Dwayne Bravo has withdrew from the competition and Irfan Pathan has been called as his replacement. Lions must realise that they need to play James Faulkner in place of out of form Dwayne Smith. Dhawal Kulkarni has a good record against Kohli and Gayle and so Nathu Singh can make way for him. Shubham Agarwal should be included in playing XI as the pitch favours the spinners.
Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina (capt), Dinesh Karthik (wk), James Faulkner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishan Kishan, Andrew Tye, Basil Thampi, Shubham Agarwal, Dhawal Kulkarni
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 4, RCB – 3, GL – 1. Earlier this season in Rajkot, Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle powered RCB to 213 and Lions lost the match by 21 runs despite McCullum’s 77.
With both teams searching for a win to stay in the race, this promises to be a hard fought encounter. Here’s what we predict. The RCB take on the Gujarat Lions in a MUST WIN match. They just have to win to keep their play off hopes alive.
If GL bats first
1st Innings Score – 160 – 170
RCB wins by 5 wickets
If RCB bats first
1st Innings Score – 160 – 170
RCB wins by 10-20 runs