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Rediff.com  » Cricket » IPL Eliminator: Struggling Royals face tough task vs resurgent RCB

IPL Eliminator: Struggling Royals face tough task vs resurgent RCB

Source: PTI
May 21, 2024 15:45 IST
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IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates the fall of a wicket with team-mate Mohammed Siraj during the IPL 2024 match against CSK on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI

Sanju Samson's Rajasthan Royals will face a stern test of character as they look to arrest a shocking slide in a do-or-die IPL Eliminator against an in-form Royal Challengers Bengaluru, in Ahmedabad, on Wednesday.

Rajasthan Royals, at one stage, had looked set for a top-place finish in the league stage before a string of four defeats and a washout in the last game against KKR resulted in Sanju Samson's side finishing third behind Sunrisers Hyderabad.

 

On the other hand, RCB have sensationally fought their way back from the brink of elimination. After losing seven of their first eight games this season, the team led by Faf du Plessis hit a dream run with six wins in a row, knocking out defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their last league game to seal a play-offs berth.

Royals, the 2008 IPL winners, suddenly find themselves as the underdogs, when a couple of weeks ago they were red-hot favourites.

When on song, Royals have shown they are unbeatable, but the last four games have exposed frailties in their batting and bowling.

IMAGE: RCB have sensationally fought their way back from the brink of elimination, winning six games in a row to qualify for the play-offs. Photograph: BCCI

The exit of Jos Buttler has taken a lot of firepower out of their batting and a lot will depend on Yashasvi Jaiswal (348 runs), skipper Samson (504) and Riyan Parag (531) to halt the slide.

Samson and Parag will once again be expected to deliver the goods for Royals, with England's Tom Kohler-Cadmore expected to partner Jaiswal as the opening pair would be expected to make most of the Powerplay.

Shimron Hetmyer is expected to be available for the contest giving Rajasthan solidity in the lower order, which has not made a big contribution with the bat this season.

Royals' strong bowling line-up could come in handy given the pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad has not been a batting paradise like the other grounds, where shorter boundaries and docile tracks have made the bowlers' job tougher.

The 200-run mark has been breached only twice in 12 innings this season at this venue.

IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates the fall of a wicket with team-mate Mohammed Siraj during the IPL 2024 match against CSK on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI

Yuzvendra Chahal will be keen to make a mark against his former team, while Ravichandran Ashwin's experience might come handy in a do-or-die contest. However, RCB don't have enough firepower in their spin department to create problems for the Royals' batters.

RCB's batting hopes will rest largely on talisman Virat Kohli, who is highest run-getter this season with 708 runs from 14 matches.

After initial struggles, RCB skipper Faf du Plessis has also found form with the bat to forge a dominating partnership at the top with Kohli, while Rajat Patidar (five half-centuries this season) has also been brutal against the spinners in the middle overs.

RCB have not been impacted much by the exit of England's Will Jacks, while veteran Dinesh Karthik is firing on all cylinders with a strike rate in excess of 195 lower down the order.

In their last match, left-arm seamer Yash Dayal turned around his fortunes to dish out a splendid final over against CSK to deny them a win and lead RCB into the play-offs.

Teams:

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain, w/k), Abid Mushtaq, Avesh Khan, Dhruv Jurel, Donovan Ferreira, Kuldeep Sen, Kunal Singh Rathore, Nandre Burger, Navdeep Saini, Ravichandran Ashwin, Riyan Parag, Sandeep Sharma, Shimron Hetmyer, Shubham Dubey, Rovman Powell, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Trent Boult, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tanush Kotian.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru: Faf du Plessis (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Anuj Rawat, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Suyash Prabhudessai, Will Jacks, Mahipal Lomror, Karn Sharma, Manoj Bhandage, Mayank Dagar, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Akash Deep, Mohammed Siraj, Reece Topley, Himanshu Sharma, Rajan Kumar, Cameron Green, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Tom Curran, Lockie Ferguson, Swapnil Singh, Saurav Chauhan.

Match starts at 7:30pm IST.

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