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Match 27 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will see a clash of the two Royals. The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Rahul Dravid-led Rajasthan Royals will have an opportunity to go top of the table when they take on each other. Both teams have won four matches, although RCB have had one outing more than RR’s five matches.
RCB start favourites in this match but do not discount their opponents. RR have generally punched above their weight and have surprised many with the enthusiasm and energy levels they are playing with. Though the crowd at Bengaluru have been very vocal in support of the RCB, their loyalty could be tested in this match given RR are being led by a Bengaluru Champ - Rahul Dravid and have Stuart Binny too.
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8 p.m
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
For RCB to do well, a lot depends on the contribution by three of their top four batsmen. The presence of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers makes for a very formidable top order. Despite two quiet outings, the Jamaican Gayle still sits among the top five run-getters this season and he will be keen to make his presence count yet again. It is no coincidence that the Orange Cap sits pretty on Kohli’s head for the RCB skipper has scored runs every single time he has walked out to bat.
Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane – two batsmen known more for their classical style of batting – are RR’s top two run-getters. Despite doing well as an opener last season, Dravid has dropped himself down the order. Rahane meanwhile has continued from where he left off last season; he has anchored the innings and seen the team home on a couple of occasions. The team will expect him to play a similar role yet again allowing the stroke-makers like Brad Hodge and Stuart Binny to play freely.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals have so far met on ten occasions. RCB have won five of those matches, while RR have got the better of RCB on four occasions. One match between these two sides – at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru in 2011 – was abandoned because of rains.
Last season, both teams conceded their home fixtures to the visitors. RR won the first league match in Bengaluru by 59 runs before RCB returned the favour by winning their away fixture by 46 runs.
Spin bowlers have had very little success on the lively track at the Chinnaswamy Stadium this season; they have only picked up six wickets in the four matches played so far.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will play hosts to Pune Warriors India on April 23 and the Rajasthan Royals head to Chennai for their next fixture to take on Chennai Super Kings on April 22.
Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders will clash with the Chennai Super Kings in Match 26 of the Pepsi IPL 2013. These two teams met in the summit clash last season where the Knight Riders prevailed in a high-scoring final.
The hosts come into this match at the back of a narrow four run defeat against Kings XI Punjab. Chasing a competitive 158, KKR were well and truly in control of the run-chase before the batting fell apart. KKR have won both their home fixtures this season and they will be keen to retain their 100% home record when they take the field in this clash.
CSK have won three of their five matches so far. Their most recent match – against the Delhi Daredevils was a clinical performance from the two-time champions; the batsmen set it up beautifully, the strategy employed by the captain worked to near perfection and all the bowlers chipped in to help the team to an emphatic 86-run victory.
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 4 p.m
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
No one individual has influenced KKR’s fortunes more than their skipper Gautam Gambhir. In a format where the openers play the most crucial role with the bat, big runs from Gambhir’s willow has invariably meant success for KKR. He is the team’s top run-getter this season and if he can continue to keep piling on the runs – and get support from the likes of Eoin Morgan and Jacques Kallis – KKR are sure to be a tough team to beat. KKR coach Trevor Bayliss told the media on match eve that there was a chance Brendon McCullum could get a look in for this game, and his inclusion will only mean a big boost to the team’s batting line-up. Add the two mystery bowlers - Sunil Narine and Sachithra Senanayake – and KKR have a very potent bowling attack too.
Chennai Super Kings seem to be gaining momentum slowly. The team sorely missed Michael Hussey in the match against the Pune Warriors India. The Australian not only brings his experience but also offers a lot of solidity to the CSK batting line-up. He proved his value immediately upon his return to the XI by scoring an unbeaten 65 which set up the match against the Daredevils. Suresh Raina has played cameos so far this season and he will be itching to make a big score, like the ones fans are so used to seeing from the southpaw in the IPL. Keep an eye on MS Dhoni too; the CSK skipper has been in stupendous hitting form and it would only be fair to expect more fireworks from him.
In ten meetings between the two teams, the Chennai Super Kings have won six matches. Even when playing at Kolkata, CSK have an upper hand over their hosts having won three of the four matches.
The last time these two teams met was in the final of IPL 2012 when KKR, powered by Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis, chased down 191 with two balls to spare.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have been very efficient against the spinners this season; they’ve only lost four wickets (out of a total of 31 wickets) to spinners so far this season.
The Kolkata Knight Riders will play the second of their three back-to-back home fixtures against the Mumbai Indians on April 24. MS Dhoni’s team will head back home after this match to host the Rajasthan Royals on April 22.