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|AB de Villiers||20||18||1||1||111.11|
|Quinton de Kock||26||19||4||0||136.84|
The Royal Challengers won their second match of IPL 2018 in the last over to open their account this season. The Rajasthan Royals also managed to sneak in a win against the Delhi Daredevils in a rain-affected match. Traveling to Bengaluru and winning against RCB, though, is going to a whole different kettle of fish.
Both the teams have shown some vulnerabilities and both have some team balance issues to take care of. The conditions also promise to be conducive to some wonderful cricket. We could have a wonderful match on our hands.
Virat and his man showed that they are not just one trick ponies as they eaned on their bowing to keep them in the match against the Kings XI Punjab. Washington Sundar is the one bower that really comes to mind as the standout performer in that match. He recovered from a poor first outing and showed real character by bowling his four overs for just 22 runs.
Of course, the initial breakthroughs were provided by Umesh Yadav who picked all his three wickets in just one over. Umesh Yadav can be very unpredictable in the shortest format of the game and you should be wary of putting too much stock on him in the upcoming matches.
The problem for RCB has been with the performance of Woakes and Chahal. Both of them were expected to lead the attack but have had trouble finding their rhythm. Still, there is enough to suggest that RCB has a potent attack at its disposal.
The real strength of RCB is their batting, though. With a top-4 comprising of McCullum, de Kock, Kohli, and de Villiers, one or the other batsman will come good on most days. In fact, AB de Villiers is showing the kind of form that should make all the opposition teams quiver.
Brendon McCullum just needs to give himself a little more time and we have no doubt that he will be at his best as well in no time.
RCB will also be pleased with the kind of maturity Mandeep Singh has shown. He, Sarfaraz Khan, Woakes, and Washington Sundar form a very formidable lower order that allows RCB to go hard from ball one.
Everything is coming together for RCB nicely and they now have an early win to start their season well. This is a team that will climb towards the top of the IPL league table very quickly.
Quinton de Kock, Brendon McCullum, V Kohli, AB de Villiers, M Singh, Washington Sundar, CR Woakes, Pawan Negi, K Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, YS Chahal.
The Rajasthan Royals were a little lucky to get a win against the Delhi Daredevils in their last match. Rajasthan was 153 for 5 in 18 overs when the rain hit. Thankfully for them, though, the rain hit for such a long time that the Delhi Daredevils had to chase down a stiff target which they failed to do so.
In that small bowling stint, though, the Rajasthan Royals showed some very potent quality. Jaidev Unadkat is a very improved young bowler and has picked up some pace to go with his variations. He will return to Bengaluru for whom he turned out last season.
Dhawal Kulkarni has the ability to take some early wickets with the new ball although he does struggle at the death. Kulkarni must try and nip out a couple of RCB’s top batsmen early otherwise his team could be in for a world of hurt.
The most important cog in this bowling lineup, though, is Ben Laughlin. Coming to the IPL on the back of some brilliant Big Bash performances, Laughlin is very difficult to hit in the death. Rahane will likely use him to break partnerships or save him for the death if he gets the opportunity.
The two Indian spinners are a little untested and could struggle against a star-studded RCB lineup.
The Rajasthan Royals also must find a way to keep Darcy Short from being run out! He has yet to really get a start in this tournament and will probably find the RCB wicket to his liking.
If Short and Rahane are able to provide their team with a fast start then the likes of Stokes, Samson, and Joss Buttler could really cash-in.
The Rajasthan Royals have a strong batting lineup and they must come to the party against an RCB bowling attack that can be put under pressure. Rahane himself will have fond memories of one of his best ever IPL innings played at this ground a couple of years back.
Ajinkya Rahane, D'Arcy Short, BA Stokes, SV Samson, Jos Buttler, RA Tripathi, K Gowtham, S Gopal, DS Kulkarni, JD Unadkat, Ben Laughlin.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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The pitch at the Chinnaswamy stadium seems to have returned to its original character. There was plenty of bounce and carry on offer as the batsmen were able to play their shots with ease. The same is expected for this upcoming match. These are two very dangerous batting sides and we are very likely to see a high scoring match.
Both teams will want to chase because you are never sure how many runs is enough on this wicket. Anything less than 175 batting first, though, is going to be tough to defend.
RCB has not lost in the last three matches they have played against the Rajasthan Royals. Matches between both these two teams always seem to be full of runs and we expect nothing different. The quality in the RCB side makes us reluctant to bet on the upset, though, this time around.
Back RCB to win.
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