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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 14 April 2012 - 10:09pm IST

Preview: Match 18 – RCB v RR

RCB, RR fight it out after two consecutive losses each

What

Gutted after their last-ball defeat at the hands of the Chennai Super Kings, the Royal Challengers Bangalore face the massive challenge of flushing that loss out of their system and lift themselves when they face the Rajasthan Royals in Match 18 of DLF IPL 2012.

Daniel Vettori’s men dominated that match against CSK for 38 overs, but were pipped to the post by Albie Morkel’s blitz and some poor bowling. It is going to take some doing for the RCB support staff to wipe out the horrors of that defeat and prepare their team so they go out to battle with a positive frame of mind.

The Rajasthan Royals won their first two home games in style, but have since gone down in both their away matches – first losing to the Mumbai Indians and then to the Kolkata Knight Riders. This fixture will be their third consecutive away game, and Rahul Dravid will want to turn his team’s fortunes around at a venue that was home to him for over 20 years.

When

Sunday, April 15, 2011, 08:00 p.m.


Where


M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore


The Protagonists


Chris Gayle took some time to warm up to his big-hitting form, but when he did get into that zone he sent several deliveries over the fence with very little effort. The RCB team management and fans will be hoping the Jamaican can continue to pull off those big shots regularly and better his performance from DLF IPL 2011.

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers are other key batmen in the RCB line-up. Meanwhile, Muttiah Muralitharan continues to defy his age, and performs with the same level of skill and energy that made him the leading wicket-taker in international cricket.

Apart from Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the innings, the Rajasthan Royals will hope Owais Shah can maintain his good form through the rest of the competition.

The Rajasthan Royals could possibly look at including Shaun Tait in their line-up, given the hard surface they are likely to encounter at the venue. The 29-year-old will have fond memories of the venue; he had picked up five wickets in a 2011 CLT20 match against RCB. Also, by now, RR would have learnt about Gayle’s weakness against quick bowlers, and they would want to exploit that it.

Previous Meetings

The record stands at one win apiece between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Rajasthan Royals in their three clashes at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium; with one match getting washed away by rain. Overall though, RCB hold a slight edge, having won four off the eight contests between the two teams.

Trivia

Shaun Tait’s best bowling figures in Twenty20 cricket (five for 32) were achieved against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

In his 16-year international career, Rahul Dravid only made three half-centuries in 22 innings (15 Test innings, 7 ODI innings) at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. However, in 12 IPL innings at the venue, he has already scored two half-centuries, and will look to add to his tally.

What next?

Rajasthan Royals will be seen in action next on April 17 when they host the Deccan Chargers, who will be searching for their first victory in DLF IPL 2012. The Royal Challengers Bangalore will be seen in action on the same day, when they take the field at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium to clash with the Pune Warriors India.

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