Royal Challengers Bangalore would want to get back to winning ways when they face a struggling Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
The Virat Kohli-led RCB has won five of their eight games on the back of all-round performances but seemingly blundered in the eight-wicket defeat to Kings XI Punjab on Thursday.
On the other hand, the Royals’ campaign this season has been marred by numerous top-order collapses, forcing the lower half to pull them across the finish line.
RCB’s five wins so far include a Super Over triumph over Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The Royals are seventh on the points table with just three wins from eight outings.
De Villiers conundrum
Against KXIP in Sharjah, AB De Villiers, who has been in fine form, was sent in to bat at No 6 which raised plenty of eyebrows.
Left-hander Washington Sundar (13) and Shivam Dube (23) were promoted up the order to accompany skipper Kohli in the middle. The experiment didn’t work as all three batsmen struggled with the South African eventually scoring just two off five balls.
To add to RCB’s woes, while defending the total, Kohli decided to save the in-form Sundar for the big-hitting Chris Gayle, who came to bat in the eighth over. That gamble didn’t pay off either as the 41-year-old Jamaican smashed the young off-spinner for four sixes.
“We had a chat, a message from outside about left-right combination and we wanted to go with it because they had two leggies. Sometimes things don’t come off. We’re pretty happy with the decisions we took, but it didn’t come off,” Kohli said after the match.
RR results in IPL 2020
|RR vs CSK||22 Sep, Tue (1930)||Sharjah||RR won by 16 runs||2|
|RR vs KXIP||27 Sep, Sun (1930)||Sharjah||RR won by 4 wickets||4|
|RR vs KKR||30 Sep, Wed (1930)||Dubai||RR lost by 37 runs||4|
|RCB vs RR||3 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||RR lost by 8 wickets||4|
|MI vs RR||6 Oct, Tue (1930)||Abu Dhabi||RR lost by 57 runs||4|
|RR vs DC||9 Oct, Fri (1930)||Sharjah||RR lost by 46 runs||4|
|SRH vs RR||11 Oct, Sun (1530)||Dubai||RR won by 5 wickets||6|
|DC vs RR||14 Oct, Wed (1930)||Dubai||RR lost by 13 runs||6|
RCB results in IPL 2020
|Match||Day/Date/Time||Venue||Result||Total points for season|
|SRH vs RCB||21 Sep, Mon (1930)||Dubai||RCB won by 10 runs||2|
|KXIP vs RCB||24 Sep, Thu (1930)||Dubai||RCB lost by 97 runs||2|
|RCB vs MI||28 Sep, Mon (1930)||Dubai||RCB won Super Over after a tied match||4|
|RCB vs RR||3 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||RCB won by 8 wickets||6|
|RCB vs DC||5 Oct, Mon (1930)||Dubai||RCB lost by 59 runs||6|
|CSK vs RCB||10 Oct, Sat (1930)||Dubai||RCB won by 37 runs||8|
|RCB vs KKR||12 Oct, Mon (1930)||Sharjah||RCB won by 82 runs||10|
|RCB vs KXIP||15 Oct, Thu (1930)||Sharjah||RCB lost by 8 wickets||10|
Royals’ top-order woes
Meanwhile, the Royals boast of a strong batting line-up. But the likes of Steve Smith and Sanju Samson have failed to score since the two victories in Sharjah at the beginning of the tournament. Jos Buttler too has been unable to capitalise on his starts, scoring just one half-century in seven innings.
After failing in his first match of the season, Ben Stokes, who has been promoted to the role of an opener, hit 41 before he was run-out against the Delhi Capitals.
The inaugural season champions have relied on Rahul Tewatia to rescue them from precarious positions and the all-rounder managed to do that twice against KXIP and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. But he failed against the Capitals when yet again the top-order botched the run-chase.
Jofra Archer spearheads the Rajasthan bowling unit, along with the spin duo of Tewatia and Shreyas Gopal, who have consistently figured in an XI that has gone through a lot of chopping and changing.
“We’ve had some good performances this year. We just need to get together and do well collectively in the coming games,” Archer said ahead of the match.
“We’ve been in this situation and before and have come back from this, so we’re not panicking about this, we know it can be done and I believe in this team to do it,” he added.
|Mat||RR wins||RCB wins||NR||RR win%||RCB win%|
|RR vs RCB||21||10||9||2||52.63||42.85|
|Mahipal Lomror||Ankit Rajpoot||Shreyas Gopal||Jos Buttler|
|Manan Vohra||Mayank Markande||Ben Stokes||Robin Uthappa|
|Riyan Parag||Jofra Archer||Rahul Tewatia||Sanju Samson|
|David Miller||Varun Aaron||Shashank Singh||Anuj Rawat|
|Steve Smith||Jaydev Unadkat||Anirudha Joshi|
|Yashasvi Jaiswal||Kartik Tyagi|
|Virat Kohli||Yuzvendra Chahal||Moeen Ali||Parthiv Patel|
|AB de Villiers||Mohammed Siraj||Pawan Negi||Shahbaz Ahmed|
|Gurkeerat Mann||Umesh Yadav||Shivam Dube||Joshua Philippe|
|Devdutt Padikkal||Navdeep Saini||Washington Sundar|
|Aaron Finch||Adam Zampa||Christopher Morris|
|Dale Steyn||Isuru Udana|
Match starts at 7.30 pm IST and will be live on Star Sports network / Disney+ Hotstar
(With PTI inputs)