Virat Kohli’s RCB Take on Gujarat Lions in a Must-Win Clash
Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Gujarat Lions in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Their backs against the wall, struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to outgun title-contenders, Gujarat Lions in a must-win clash to keep alive their play-off hopes at Bengaluru on Saturday.
Currently lying at a lowly sixth position in the points table, Bangalore needs to win their remaining four matches to possibly make the playoffs and Virat Kohli’s men will go full throttle against Gujarat to boost their confidence.
The Royal Challengers will like to forget their last game against defending champions Mumbai Indians, who thumped them in their own backyard.
A loss on Friday, however, will shatter their dreams to make into the playoffs and as usual the onus will be on skipper Kohli, who has come out all guns blazing so far, putting the rivals on the mat.
He is donning the orange cap for having scored 568 runs, which includes two tons and four half centuries. Besides the captain, RCB have also been relying heavily on their star batsman AB de Villiers, who has amassed 409 runs in 10 matches so far in the tournament.
K L Rahul also has stepped up and chipped in with an unbeaten 68 to guide the team to a respectable 151 for four in their last match. Australia’s Shane Watson has also proved to be an important cog in Bangalore’s wheels with some crucial contributions.
Royal Challengers will be hoping Chris Gayle to fire all cylinders which could be the best answer to neutralise their pedestrian bowling attack, which has failed to even defend 180-plus scores in some of the matches.
Their two best performers with the ball have been Watson and Yuzvendra Chahal but the likes of Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron and Chris Jordan have all leaked runs.
Meanwhile, IPL debutants Gujarat will be coming into the match after defeating the consistent Kolkata Knight Riders with an eye to jump to number one position in the points-table, where Sunrisers Hyderabad are perched for now.
However, they will also be wary about their signs of wilting at the business end of the tournament, and will like to come out of it.
Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina is beginning to show signs of struggle, weighed down by the burden of captaincy.
If their top heavy batting comprising the terrific trio of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith is a boon, it’s also turning out to be their bane.
The trio’s failure has translated into the team’s losses as their Indian combination of Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Dinesh Karthik, whose match-winning 51 being the exception against KKR, is hardly making any impact.
Having relished the success provided by their overseas recruits, Raina is struggling when it comes to his individual contribution with a solitary half-century to show so far.
It’s high time that the Team India regular duo of Raina and Jadeja fire down the order to give their batting some depth.
Finch, who has four half centuries, has been their best batter this season and dropping him down the order has not helped their cause.
In the bowling department, pacers Dwayne Bravo and Dhawal Kulkarni have been their best bowlers, having taken 12 and 10 wickets respectively so far and the team will rely on them.
Chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik, who has generated much curiosity with his Paul Adams-like action, and veteran leg-spinner Pravin Tambe will also look to bring out their best tomorrow.
(With inputs from PTI)
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