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Preview: M49 - RCB vs RR

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What

Royal Challengers Bangalore meet Rajasthan Royals in Match 49 of VIVO IPL 2019.

RCB are at the bottom of the pile with four wins, while RR are one place above with five wins. After piling up losses in the first half of the season, both teams managed to establish some momentum and have carried their slim chances of progressing to the playoffs right into the final week of the league stage.

Royal Challengers are banking on the remote possibility of the fourth team qualifying with twelve points. For that to happen, they need to win both their matches by big margins, so their net run rate improves. The Rajasthan Royals too stand an outside chance of making the final four; for them to progress, they need to win both their remaining matches, which will take their tally to 14 points. Both teams would then need other results to go their way.

RCB were forced to overhaul their middle-order in the previous match after Moeen Ali parted with the team to join the England national team. They included Shivam Dube, Heinrich Klaasen and Gurkeerat Singh and batted them at 4 5 and 6. That formula didn’t quite work out in the run-chase in Delhi, and the RCB management will probably attempt to correct that problem.

The Rajasthan Royals can be expected to make one change to the team that defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad; the fifth bowler’s quota of four overs – which was shared between Parag Das and Stuart Binny against SRH – is possibly an area the team will look to tighten up.Dhawal Kulkarni, or local lad K Gowtham are possible options the Royals could consider for the additional specialist bowler.

When

30 April 2019, 8pm IST

Where

M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

Previous Match XIs:

Royal Challengers Bangalore:Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shivam Dube, Heinrich Klaasen, Gurkeerat Singh, Marcus Stoinis, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Rajasthan Royals:Ajinkya Rahane, Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Ashton Turner, Parag Das, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Oshane Thomas, JaydevUnadkat, Varun Aaron.

Protagonists

RCB’s best chances of winning are if their top three – comprising Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers – score big. Parthiv has added another gear to his batting, and has become a dependable batsman. In the past eleven seasons, he averaged 22 with the bat and scored his runs at just over a run-a-ball; this season though, he averages in excess of 30 and has often set the tone for his team. Parthiv has made scores of 53, 43 and 39 in his last three innings – it is the first time in his 137-match IPL career that he has made three consecutive scores of 30 or more.

Virat Kohli has scored in excess of 400 runs and is the highest run-getter among all the team captains; still, those are only middling returns compared to his performances in the past. The RCB captain potentially has two more innings to add to his tally, and hopefully the runs he scores will boost his team’s chances of making the playoffs. Kohli will also be aware that he has a personal score to settle against the Rajasthan Royals, against whom he averages a poor 21.38 – his lowest against any IPL opponent.

It has been refreshing to watch Ajinkya Rahane bat in these last few matches. Since being relieved of captaincy, he has batted with plenty of freedom, and that has served his own cause and his team well. Since the burden of captaincy was taken off his shoulders, Rahane has scored 190 runs in four innings at a strike-rate of 146.15. Liam Livingstone is rated very highly in T20 cricket in England; the Englishman illustrated why he is considered a dangerous cricketer with a stroke-filled 44. He will enjoy the conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Sanju Samson can mesmerize with his stroke play, but can disappoint in equal measure for lack of consistency. Once every few matches, he will play a sensational knock and leave spectators awestruck; consistently though, such performances follow a string of poor scores. The young batsman made a fluent 48 in the previous match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and the Royals will hope he can continue from that unbeaten knock.

Among the bowlers, keep an eye on Navdeep Saini and Oshane Thomas – two bowlers who have challenged the speed gun consistently, and the two leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Shreyas Gopal.

Head to Head in Indian Premier League

Overall: Matches – 19,Royal Challengers Bangalore – 8, Rajasthan Royal – 10, No Result – 1

Since 2018: Matches – 3, Royal Challengers Bangalore – 0, Rajasthan Royal – 3

Remaining League-stage Fixtures:

For Royal Challengers Bangalore: 4 May - v Sunrisers Hyderabad in Bengaluru.

For Rajasthan Royals:4 May – v Delhi Capitals in Delhi.

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