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With five wins from eight matches, Rajasthan Royals are at a crucial juncture of the tournament. A couple of wins or losses will determine whether they join the table-toppers or get dragged into the mid-table tussle. Their next big task is to take on Royal Challenger Bangalore in their backyard – a venue where RCB hardly lose.
Despite going into this match with a shock loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad, where they folded for 103, Royals all-rounder, Steve Smith, said that the team is not under immense pressure at this moment despite their inconsistent batting.
“We are in a decent position; we have won most of our games and we’re sitting pretty well on the points table,” Smith said. “I think a lot of the time the wicket has dictated how many runs we got. The wicket in Ahmedabad during the last match (against SRH) was quite slow. It was a very low-scoring game and we just happened to be the lower-scoring side. It is not that big a worry; we just need to be a bit more consistent.”
The confidence, Smith said, stems from the structure of the team, which is built on the foundation of doing one’s best off the field and taking whatever comes on it.
“The one thing about the Royals is that it’s just about focusing on getting the processes right and knowing that we are not going to win all the matches. We know if we get the processes right, we will win more games than not.”
Another thing that Smith said separates RR from most other teams is that they don’t depend on a couple of individuals for their wins. “It’s a big part of what we’re about. Everyone from the owners to the coaches and captain say it’s about performing as a team. We don’t just rely on one or two people but on everyone to get the team over the line. If three-four people click on a day, you win the match, and that’s how we are set up, as all our wins show,” Smith said.
On the personal front, Smith said that he would not mind bowling a few overs here and there given how well leg-spinners have been doing in the tournament. “I’ll try to get the captain to bowl me. Not on this ground though – it is a bit too small for me (smiles) – but maybe at some of the bigger grounds where the wicket my take a bit of turn. It’s still there, the leg-spin, if needed and I have kept it up in the nets as well. I’ll try to bowl well if I get the chance.”
Match 35 of Pepsi IPL 2014 will see the Royal Challengers Bangalore taking on the Rajsthan Royals.
RCB need a win more than their opponents, for they have steadily slipped down the standings, and now find themselves in the bottom half of the table. In their most recent outing, they had no answers to Glenn Maxwell and co. With just three wins under the belt, they are now faced with a situation where they need to win at least five of their remaining six matches to even stay in contention for a Playoffs spot.
Rajasthan Royals will consider their 32-run defeat to Sunrisers Hydeabad an aberration. Despite not boasting too many superstars in their ranks, RR have almost always punched above their weight. With five wins from eight matches, they are steadily closing in on a Playoff spot; and a win in this contest will take them a step closer.
Sunday, May 11, 2014, 8 pm IST Where
M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru The Protagonists
Royal Challengers Bangalore have to address their batting woes. In three of their last four matches, RCB have lost two of their top three batsmen to single-digit scores and have not had any kind of momentum in their innings. With the competition for Playoffs spots getting intense, it is about time the likes of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli – who are yet to score a half-century this season – start getting the big runs under their belt. There is no doubt that Gayle and Kohli are under pressure. But both players need to believe that a good knock is just around the corner.
The Rajasthan Royals would have hopefully learnt their lessons after the debacle that was their previous outing. And the two players who will possibly assume more responsibility from hereon will be skipper Shane Watson and opener Ajinkya Rahane.
On the bowling front, the battle between the two leg-spinners promises a good contest. 23-year-old Yuzvendra Chahal will be pitted against 42-year-old Pravin Tambe. Both bowlers operate with different philosophies, yet have picked up some very important wickets and have held their own in this batsman-friendly format.
Notes from Previous match
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab: Royal Challengers Bangalore will be worried about the lack of discipline from their bowlers. In two consecutive matches, the bowlers have erred with their lines and have bowled plenty of wides and no-balls. Not only has the team paid the one-run penalty every time a bowler has bowled a wide or a no-ball, but the extra delivery in the over has gone for runs too. And that has hurt the team. RCB need better discipline on the field too; they cannot afford to leak runs. On the batting front, they need a platform from the top order.
Rajasthan Royals v Sunrisers Hyderabad: The Rajasthan Royals possibly needed one partnership of about 50 runs to beat the Sunrisers Hyderabad, who were only defending 134. Yet, the best RR managed was a partnership of 37 runs – and that in itself tells the story. The positives for RR were that the bowlers did very well in not allowing their opponents to construct a partnership. The bowlers deserve a pat on the backs for the manner in which they pulled back SRH after they got off to a rollicking start.
Rajasthan Royals’ wins in their last two matches against the Royal Challengers Bangalore means the head to head between the two teams reads 6-6 from 12 matches. The numbers are no different in contests between the two teams in Bengaluru; they’ve met on four occasions and have won two matches apiece.
Both RCB and RR prefer chasing. RCB has a 56 percent success record in run-chases, while RR have a 63.5 percent success record while batting second.
Both teams will be seen in action next on May 13. Rajasthan Royals take on the Chennai Super Kings in Ranchi at 4 pm, while Royal Challengers Bangalore host the Delhi Daredevils at 8 pm.