Humiliated in their previous face-off this season, table toppers Rajasthan Royals will be desperate to extract revenge against a resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore in Wednesday’s Indian Premier League match in Bengaluru.
In the earlier meeting between the teams last week, Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Rajasthan Royals by nine wickets, with 23 balls to spare, after restricting the Shane Watson-led side to a paltry 130.
Come Wednesday, the crushing defeat will be high on the minds of the Rajasthan players.
Rajasthan Royals are presently atop the table with 11 points from eight games (five wins, two loses and one no result), while Royal Challengers are fourth with six points (three wins and three defeats) from as many games.
After registering five consecutive victories, Rajasthan Royals suffered back-to-back defeats and will be keen to return to winning ways.
For Rajasthan Royals, Ajinkya Rahane, the leading run-getter this season, and Australia’s Steve Smith have been in fine form with the bat and the team will looking to the duo to post a big total.
Add to it skipper Watson's all-round finesse and Deepak Hooda's blazing strike-rate (208.92) and Rajasthan Royals look a menacing outfit.
On the bowling front, 43-year-old leg-spinner Pravin Tambe has impressed all and sundry, picking six scalps so far this season.
With the presence of Chris Morris and James Faulkner, Rajasthan Royals’ pace department also look in safe hands.
For Royal Challengers, it’s been a mixed bag tournament so far. But after a sedate start, they returned to winning ways with two consecutive away wins against Rasjasthan in Ahmedabad and Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
But a dismal record at home could a major concern for them going into Wednesday’s game.
So far they failed to make home advantage count, losing all three matches -- against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
They will be high on confidence though after registering a comprehensive 10-wicket victory over Delhi Daredevils in their last match.
Against Delhi the other day, Royal Challengers clicked in all departments of the game and skipper Virat Kohli will be for another good showing from his players.
With the likes of the destructive Chris Gayle, Kohli and A B de Villiers up their ranks, the team boasts of a formidable batting line-up.
Gayle and Kohli have had a slow start to this year's campaign but have gained momentum with time. Kohli returned to form with two half centuries in the last three games.
Royal Challengers’ bowling attack, seen a weak link, also came good against Delhi the other day.
Led by Australian Mitchell Starc and supported well by Varun Aaron and David Wiese, their pacers produced a lethal display to bundle out Delhi for meagre 95 runs in their last match and set the platform for the easy victory.
On the spin front, the Bangalore side’s leading wicket-taker this season with 10 scalps, Yuzvendra Chahal, will be a hard nut to crack.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (capt), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Mitchell Starc, Nic Maddinson, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Harshal Patel, Vijay Zol, Abu Nechim, Sandeep Warrier, Yogesh Takawale, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rilee Rossouw, Iqbal Abdulla, Manvinder Bisla, Mandeep Singh, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Subramaniam Badrinath, Darren Sammy, Sean Abbott, David Wiese, Sarfaraz Khan, Jalaj Saxena, Shishir Bhavane, Sreenath Arvind.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (C), Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, James Faulkner, Chris Morris, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pravin Tamble, Ben Cutting, Tim Southee, Rusty Theron, Ankit Sharma, Brainder Sran, Rajat Bhatia, Vikramjeet Malik, Abhishek Nayar, Pardeep Sahu, Dinesh Salunkhe, Rahul Tewatia, Sagar Trivedi, Dishant Yagnik.