Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 25 April 2014 - 06:22pm IST
Preview: Match 14 – RR v RCB
Abu Dhabi set to host ‘Battle Royal’
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals will go head to head in Match 14 of Pepsi IPL 2014. Both teams have played three matches so far this season. RR’s solitary victory was when they defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad in their season opener, while RCB defeated Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians before going down to KKR most recently.
Both teams will be annoyed and hurting given that despite holding a firm grip on the match for the better part of 40 overs, they couldn’t finish things off. RR restricted a formidable Chennai Super Kings line-up to 140, but there weren’t too many partnerships when it was their turn to bat and the team folded up eight runs short of their target.
Royal Challengers Bangalore were in the driver’s seat at the start of the final over of the run-chase. Needing six off the final three balls, the scales tilted in favour of their opponents, Kolkata Knight Riders, when Chris Lynn pulled off a stunner at the midwicket boundary to send back the dangerous AB de Villiers. Albie Morkel managed only three more runs off the final two deliveries, leaving RCB three short of their target of 151.
Saturday, April 26, 2014, 4 pm IST
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson are Rajasthan Royals’ top run-getters so far this season. Despite playing cricket the orthodox way, both players have proven that they have cracked the code to be successful even in this fast-paced format. The one player who needs to come good – and who can blow away any opposition on his own – is Shane Watson; the Australian is comfortably the franchise’s top run-getter and needs to start pulling his weight in the team – more so now since he is the captain.
If Chris Gayle takes the field – questions on whether he has recovered completely remain unanswered – he will surely count as the most destructive player in the match. In his absence – and given that Yuvraj Singh isn’t at his fluent best – RCB will need their captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to come up with the goods.
Notes from Previous match
Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings: 4, 22 and 10 – those are the runs added by RR’s opening pair so far this season. In a format where it is important to grab the advantage early on, RR will know their opening pair hasn’t done the job – it is even more criminal if the openers have been separated by means of a run-out, something that has happened twice. RR will also know that they need to build partnerships; the highest partnership in the previous match was the 28-run association between the ninth-wicket pair. The other area RR will look to improve upon is maintaining discipline in the bowling; they conceded 11 runs through wides in the previous match – and given that the difference between the two teams in the final analysis was only 8 runs – RR will have noticed that they need to tighten up on this front.
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders: To put it in simple terms, RCB will know they messed up what should have been a simple run-chase. The one area they can definitely improve upon is their performance with the bat in the middle overs. Between overs seven and 15, the RCB innings suffered 20 dot balls. The one other fact they will have made note of is that the batsmen hit only three boundaries in the final five-over stretch of the innings – despite having fearsome batsmen like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Yuvraj Singh and Albie Morkel at the crease during that period. The other startling fact is that despite the depth and firepower in their batting, RCB only managed one maximum in their innings.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have a slight edge heading into this contest against the Rajasthan Royals; they have won 6 of the 11 matches they’ve played against the Jaipur franchise.
Memorable performances in RR-RCB matches include Ajinkya Rahane’s maiden IPL century – at Bangalore in IPL 2012 – and Anil Kumble’s incredible spell of five for five – at Cape Town in 2009.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have conceded the fewest sixes of all teams this season – 4
Rajasthan Royals have conceded the most runs through wides and no balls this season – 24.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will square off against Kings XI Punjab next – at the Dubai International Stadium on April 28. Rajasthan Royals, meanwhile, will stay put at Abu Dhabi to take on the Kolkata Knight Riders on April 29.