About the Match
Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore occupy the bottom two places in the points table in the ongoing Indian Premier League. These two teams will now face each other for the first time this season in the 20th Match of the league at Rajkot on 18th April, and both teams would be equally eager to get things back on track before it gets too late.
Gujarat’s campaign has not taken off yet. They have not been able to find a settled combination and have lost matches both home and away. Their entire bowling line-up was able to take only one wicket combined in the first two matches and this apparent weakness in bowling led them to two losses in these games against Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Gujarat tried to address this weakness in bowling by including Andrew Tye in the game against Rising Pune Supergiant, and this change paid immediate dividends with Tye picking up a five wicket haul and leading the Lions to their maiden win of the season. Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch combined well to chase down Pune’s total successfully.
It seemed that this win would lead to a shift in momentum but that was not the case. In their fourth game against Mumbai Indians, the batting clicked again with McCullum and Dinesh Karthik taking charge and posting a good total. However, their old Achilles heel, their woeful bowling, returned to haunt them and they could not defend the total. Tye did reasonably well, but he cannot be expected to take 5 wicket hauls in each game.
Gujarat have just a single win from four games and time is running out for them to stay afloat in the competition. They need to find a combination that strengthens their bowling without compromising their batting and they need to do this soon.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers are struggling. They have won only one match in five games so far and are at the bottom of the points table. Their only win has come against Delhi which was more about Amit Mishra losing his mind and the game for his team than Bangalore actually winning it. They have lost their last three games against Punjab, Mumbai and Pune and time is really slipping from their hands in order to stay afloat in the competition.
Royal Challengers spent their first few matches without their captain and AB de Villiers owing to fitness issues, but Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers are back now and both made impact straightaway on their respective arrivals in the matches against Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab. Both are looking in good form but the issue for RCB seems to be an overdependence on these two players. This was pretty apparent in their last game against Pune, where the other batsmen could not get going after ABD and Virat were dismissed.
They made some changes to the team against Pune and the bowling looked pretty settled and was disciplined overall. Samuel Badree had made a huge impact in his first game, claiming a fantastic hat trick, and Adam Milne was impressive against Pune in his first game.
RCB have a good team at their disposal and should they fire collectively, this unit is very hard to stop. There is no apparent weakness in their squad but they have not been able to perform as a team until now and its high time that they start doing so as they have already fallen behind a little too much for them to feel comfortable.
The Lions and RCB are facing each other for the first time this season. The Rajkot pitch has played well for the batsmen in the two matches so far and this could result in a high scoring affair. Though RCB’s batting has not clicked so far but given the pitch and a not so potent Lion’s bowling attack, this might well be the best chance for RCB to get back to winning ways.