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Royal Challengers Bangalore, one of IPL’s most consistent teams, clash with Pune Warriors India, who’ve found their feet early this season.
RCB started their IPL 2012 campaign with a bang when they beat Delhi Daredevils by a fair margin. Since then, though, their fortunes have nose-dived; they lost a cliffhanger against hosts Chennai Super Kings and received a 59-run thrashing at the hands of the Rajasthan Royals a couple of days ago.
Pune Warriors India find themselves placed in the top half of the table with three victories from four matches. Sourav Ganguly’s boys, who crushed MS Dhoni’s CSK two days ago, will look to build on the momentum.
Tuesday, April 17, 2011, 08:00 p.m.
Where M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
It’s not often that the formidable RCB top order fails altogether. In the previous match against the Rajasthan Royals, the celebrated trio of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers only managed 36 runs between them. With Tillakaratne Dilshan warming the benches, the pressure will be on Gayle and de Villiers to perform and keep their place in the side.
Daniel Vettori will also have to come up with an answer to the problems of the fifth bowler’s quota. RCB have tried out Harshal Patel, S Aravind and Raajoo Bhatkal previously, but none has done enough to merit a second game. Look out for a change in the bowling attack too.
Pune Warriors India seem to have finally discovered their best batting order. With Sourav Ganguly playing the sheet anchor at No. 3, the business of opening the innings is best left to two of their most explosive batsmen, Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa.
Marlon Samuels and Steve Smith have shown glimpses of what they are capable of and Pune Warriors India fans will hope they can keep the good work going through the tournament.
Keep an eye on the umpires too. Marlon Samuels’ bowling action was reported as suspect in the previous match. If he’s reported once more, he’ll be suspended from the rest of the tournament. Previous Meetings
The only previous time Royal Challengers Bangalore have met Pune Warriors India, the former won by 26 runs. After posting a challenging 181 for five on a flat deck at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, RCB’s bowlers restricted their opponents to 155 for five. Trivia
• Pune Warriors India have the lowest boundary percentage of the nine teams in this IPL; only 47.35% of their runs have come through boundaries.
• RCB’s Chris Gayle needs seven more sixes to become the leading six-hitter in the IPL. Adam Gilchrist currently sits on top of the list with 83 hits over the fence (from 64 matches), while Gayle has hit 77 in 31 matches. What next?
After two consecutive home games, Royal Challengers Bangalore will step out of the familiar surroundings of M Chinnaswamy Stadium and travel north to Mohali to face Kings XI Punjab on April 20. Pune Warriors India, meanwhile, will fly over to Chennai to take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings on April 19.
Rajasthan Royals were among the less-fancied teams at the start of IPL 2012 due to their limited resources. A couple of weeks into the competition the team from Jaipur has performed above expectations to win many supporters. They now compete against the Deccan Chargers, who are back in action after two losses and a week’s break.
Languishing at the bottom of the table, DC are still searching for their first win. In their two matches at Visakhapatnam, the Hyderabad franchise came second best; they first lost to defending champions Chennai Super Kings by a whopping 74 runs, while Mumbai Indians edged past the target off the very last ball of the match. When
Tuesday, April 17, 2011, 04:00 p.m.
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Ajinkya Rahane has stood tallest among the cricketers at IPL 2012, not only for the runs he has scored (which have won him the Orange Cap), but also for how he’s scored them. Despite the demands of Twenty20 cricket, the Rajasthan Royals opener has been all grace; his cover drives, drives down the ground and flicks off the pads would make any coach proud.
Owais Shah has been impressive too; the 33-year-old seems to have rediscovered himself and is turning out to be a very important part of the Rajasthan Royals’ line-up. The Englishman has scored runs every time he’s walked out to bat, as his batting strike-rate of 170 proves.
Deccan Chargers do not boast of too many pedigreed Indian batsmen in their squad; they will look at their international players to help lift from the bottom of the table. Kumar Sangakkara needs to lead by example, while the likes of JP Duminy, Cameron White and Shikhar Dhawan need to chip in runs consistently.
Dale Steyn’s four overs – and how many the opposition gets off those – could well decide the match. The top-ranked bowler in Test cricket has been breathing fire, and the Rajasthan Royals batsmen will find it tough to score off him. Previous Meetings
Rajasthan Royals have generally dominated in matches against the Deccan Chargers. In the seven previous contests between the two teams, the former have won six, while the latter posted their only victory in their run to the IPL title in 2009. Trivia
Rajasthan Royals have an enviable record at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur; they’ve won 14 of their 19 matches at the venue. What next?
Following this fixture, Deccan Chargers will travel to the national capital where they take on hosts Delhi Daredevils on April 19. Rajasthan Royals, meanwhile, will enjoy a couple of days’ break before they fly out to Chennai to take on Chennai Super Kings on April 21.