After topsy-turvy journeys through the season, Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore will face off in Qualifier 2 of Indian Premier League 2022 on Friday. The winner of the match will clash with Gujarat Titans for the title on Sunday.
The Royals did well to edge out Lucknow Super Giants and finish second at the end of the league stage. But in Qualifier 1, they were undone by a stellar knock from David Miller. The Royal Challengers, on the other hand, sneaked into the playoffs but put in a fine performance to beat LSG in the Eliminator. They have now won two on the trot and four of the last five.
Rajasthan have perhaps had the more steady season but heading into Qualifier 2, it is RCB who have the edge thanks to their most recent victory. As always though, one can expect the outcome to be determined by fine margins.
Overall head-to-head in the IPL
|Mat||RR won||RCB won||NR|
Previous meetings this season
Match No 13 – RCB won by 4 wickets: Asked to bat first at the Wankhede Stadium, RR posted a total of 169/3 in their 20 overs thanks to contributions from Jos Buttler (70* off 47), Devdutt Padikkal (37 off 29) and Shimron Hetmyer (42* off 31). The Royals had plenty of wickets in hand but struggled to accelerate throughout the innings. Harshal Patel, with figures of 1/18 from his four overs, was the pick of the bowlers for RCB. In reply, the Royal Challengers finished with 173/6 and won with five balls to spare. Faf du Plessis (29) and Anuj Rawat (26) got a partnership at the top of the order while Virat Kohli (5), David Willey (0) and Sherfane Rutherford (5) didn’t contribute much. But Shahbaz Ahmed (45 off 26) and Dinesh Karthik (44* off 23) provided the fireworks eventually to help RCB gain the two points. Yuzvendra Chahal (2/15) delivered a solid spell but didn’t get enough support from the rest of the RR bowlers. Karthik was declared the player of the match. It was a match that saw DK pull a rabbit out of the hat for RCB and put him on course for the India call-up.
Watch highlights of the match here.
Match No 39 – RR won by 29 runs: Having lost the toss and asked to bat first in this game too (at the MCA stadium in Pune), Rajasthan’s top order couldn’t get going and the team was reduced to 68/4. Skipper Sanju Samson got a 21-ball 27 but the rest, with R Ashwin sent at No 3, couldn’t get their eye in. It came down to a counterattacking 56* off 31 by Riyan Parag at No 6 to help RR get to a respectable total of 144/8. Josh Hazlewood (2/19) and Wanindu Hasaranga (2/23) were the standout bowlers for RCB but a late dropped catch off Parag proved costly. The Royal Challengers would have been confident of chasing down the target, but they suffered a dramatic collapse and were bowled out for 115 in 19.3 overs. Skipper Faf du Plessis (23 off 21) was the only RCB batter who got to 20 runs. Right-arm pacer Kuldeep Sen returned with excellent figures of 4/20 from 3.3 overs. Parag was declared the player of the match.
Watch highlights of the match here.
Top 3 batters for RR so far in IPL 2022
Top 3 bowlers for RR so far in IPL 2022
Top 3 batters for RCB so far in IPL 2022
|Faf Du Plessis||15||1||443||96||31.64||130.29||0||3||46||13|
Top 3 bowlers for RCB so far in IPL 2022
Some key matchups
Jos Buttler vs Josh Hazlewood: Buttler was one of the big reasons why RR qualified for the playoffs. The right-hander slammed three centuries and had a dream first half of the season. In Qualifier 1 too, he recovered from a slow start to score 89 off 56 and help his team post a formidable total (even if his early struggles might have eventually proved costly). In Qualifier 2, RCB will rely on Hazlewood to remove Buttler early. The right-arm pacer has been impressive with the new ball and will be keen to trouble Buttler early on as the right-hander tries to settle in.
Shimron Hetmyer vs Harshal Patel: The Royal Challengers were in a tricky position in the Eliminator when Harshal raised his hand yet again and delivered two crucial overs at the end to help his team win. Even Lucknow Super Giants skipper KL Rahul spoke about how the right-arm medium pacer’s smart variations played a key role in the contest. Harshal has been a leader with the ball for RCB over the past two years and RR will bank on Hetmyer to stand up against him in Qualifier 2. The explosive left-hander bats lower down the order, has been a fine finisher on many occasions this season and will need to fire for RR in the death overs when Harshal operates.
Sanju Samson vs Wanindu Hasaranga: Even as his teammates struggled on what he later described as a sticky pitch, skipper Samson played a blazing knock in Qualifier 1 against Gujarat Titans. The right-hander slammed a 26-ball 47 but got out just perhaps when his team needed him to kick-on. In Qualifier 2, Samson will be determined to make amends and it could come down to Hasaranga to stop him. The leg-spinner has been one of the leading wicket-takers throughout this season and even though he was taken for 1/42 in the Eliminator, he will be confident of bouncing back and troubling Samson in the middle overs.
Rajat Patidar vs Yuzvendra Chahal: At the top of the wicket-takers list, Chahal has had a memorable season with the ball. The leg-spinner is a strike bowler for RR and is hardly ever afraid to bowl attacking lines and lengths. He went wicketless (0/32) in Qualifier 1 but Chahal remains a big threat for his former team heading into Qualifier 2. RCB, though, will take immense confidence from Patidar’s scintillating knock in the Eliminator. The right-hander looked a class apart and decimated the LSG attack on his way to a century. Patidar will now need to deal with the challenge posed by Chahal who would love to stop his former employers’ run.
Dinesh Karthik vs RR’s death bowling: If Buttler has been the star with the bat for RR, Karthik has been the driving force behind RCB. The senior pro, who had to step into the shoes of AB de Villiers (the finishing version) in the team, has had an unforgettable campaign. He has played stellar knocks, showing the skill of hitting boundaries at will down the order, and was even among the runs in the Eliminator (37* off 23). For RR to boost their chances of reaching the final, they will need to stop Karthik. For Royals, death bowling has been a problem area and whoever Samson decides to trust with for the last 3-4 overs, will need to deliver at least in containing a potential onslaught from DK.
Sanju Samson after RR’s loss in Qualifier 1: “We need to come back stronger. We have been playing some really good cricket throughout the tournament, we played a really good game today as well. A couple of overs here and there, a couple of extra runs cost us. We will try to come back and play some good cricket. In this format, luck and the toss play a huge role. So it all comes down to what you want to do in your control. And that is to come out and play expressive cricket. Hoping for a good result in the next game.”
Virat Kohli on BCCI TV after Rajat Patidar’s match-winning ton in the Eliminator: “I have seen many impact innings and many innings under pressure over so many years, but I have not seen better than how Rajat played today. The magnitude of the game was so big that I was feeling the tension in the air because I have been in those situations where you have to cross the line as a team. So what he did was very, very special and I don’t think that anyone should take that for granted. You should understand the excellence of his innings and appreciate as a cricketer to watch an innings like that. Cannot wait to get to Ahmedabad and take the field again. We are just so excited and happy with how things have gone. We just want to go further in this tournament. Hopefully two more games and then we all can celebrate.”
Rajasthan Royals: Karun Nair, Rassie van der Dussen, Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (c), Jos Buttler, Dhruv Jurel, Anunay Singh, James Neesham, Daryl Mitchell, Riyan Parag, R Ashwin, Shubham Garhwal, Kuldip Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen, Obed McCoy, Tejas Baroka, KC Cariappa, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna, Trent Boult, Corbin Bosch.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis (c), Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, Mahipal Lomror, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shahbaz Ahmed, Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Siddharth Kaul, Josh Hazlewood, Akash Deep, Anuj Rawat, Finn Allen, Suyash Prabhudessai, Sherfane Rutherford, Aneeshwar Gautam, Chama V Milind, Jason Behrendorff, David Willey, Karn Sharma, Mohammad Siraj.
Indian Premier League 2022 Qualifier 2 between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore will begin at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday, May 27, at 7.30 pm IST.