Both the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals have responded with a win after losing their season openers in 2018. The Royal Challengers have been blessed with the performances from AB de Villiers and Umesh Yadav so far, while Sanju Samson could potentially have his best IPL season yet looking extremely impressive at the crease for the Royals.
They may only have a 50% win rate in 2018, but the signs are looking ominous for teams coming up against the Royal Challengers with the star-studded outfit starting to fire after losing their first game of IPL 11. It’s been South African batting-maestro AB de Villiers who has struck form significantly early in the tournament, but then again what do you expect from one of the world’s most skilful cricketers going around. AB scored an exhilarating 44 in their loss to the Knight Riders, followed by a match winning 57 against the Kings XI after being set a target of 156 runs by the visitors. This is one of the only teams in the competition that doesn’t have to worry about their batting line-up’s performance, they’ve got that much star-power it’s ridiculous. A classic example of that would be Brendon McCullum scoring 43 runs in the first match and none in the second, while Quinton de Kock was dismissed for just four in his first outing but hit back strongly with 45 runs against Punjab. Throw Virat Kohli into the center of the equation, and opposition bowling attacks are going to have an absolute nightmare dismantling this top order of Bangalore’s. Mandeep Singh has been a bit of an unsung-hero down the order for the Royal Challengers as well, it’s easy to forget him with the big-four in the top order but he’s probably been their second-most consistent batsmen in their two games. We have to talk about their bowling, they’re not renowned for that part of their game but it’s certainly been a feature of how they’ve turned that stereotype around. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav has been simply-faultless in his performances with the ball for Bangalore, he’s taken five wickets in two games whilst giving away very-little runs in the process. Former Kolkata teammate Chris Woakes has also been highly-effective with the ball so far with five wickets as well, there’s no doubt the Knight Riders would be shaking their heads after moving them on.
Do the Rajasthan Royals have the potential to win the 2018 IPL title? From what I’ve seen so far, the answer is no. While they leap-frogged the Delhi Daredevils in a rain-affected contest which probably favoured them after batting almost 18 overs before the rain hit Jaipur, they look like a team in need of a serious threat with either bat & ball, that’s where the loss of Australian captain Steve Smith really did hurt them in that instance. Don’t get me wrong, Ajinkya Rahane is a wonderful batsman but he doesn’t quite have the ability to flick the switch and start pumping bowlers into the crowd like a Brendon McCullum or AB de Villiers, I believe that’s where Rajasthan are lacking. New recruit D’Arcy Short does possess that ability, but for the time being he just has to find a way to stop running himself out! It’s not often a player runs himself out twice in a row, he’ll be hoping to avoid the trifecta in his next outing. Another decision the Royals will have to make is where English all-rounder Ben Stokes is best suited in the batting order, he’s currently batting at No. 3 which looks to be too high given his hitting-ability in the middle-latter overs. Ideally, Stokes should be batting at No. 5 or 6 depending on the match situation, he’s being wasted in Rajasthan’s top order at the moment. Rahul Tripathi batting in the middle order doesn’t make any sense either, he’s a genuine top order batsmen who has a lot more experience than Stokes in that facet of the game. Sanju Samson is probably their greatest asset in the batting department so far, he’s looking in fine touch with the willow. Apart from Jaydev Unadkat who’s become a renowned wicket-taker in the IPL, the Royals don’t have a lot of wicket-taking options when it comes to consistent performers. Ben Stokes will need to lift his weight as the all-rounder while Ben Laughlin might be a tad expensive but has that wicket-taking ability thanks to his crafty-variety of bowling.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Royal Challengers Bangalore | 11th match | Bengaluru
- AB de Villiers
- Umesh Yadav
- Virat Kohli
- Brendon McCullum
- Chris Woakes
Wildcard pick – Washington Sundar
Top 5 fantasy picks | Rajasthan Royals | 11th match | Bengaluru
- Sanju Samson
- Ajinkya Rahane
- Jaydev Unadkat
- Jos Buttler
- Ben Stokes
Wildcard pick – Rahul Tripathi
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Royal Challengers look determined to stick with their highly-dominant top order which means they could rotate players in the middle-lower order. After two failures with the bat, Sarfaraz Khan could be replaced by 28-year-old Karnataka batsman Pavan Deshpande who averages 67.20 in T20 cricket. Both Manan Vohra and Parthiv Patel are expected to get their opportunity at some point in the tournament, but for the time being they’re likely to watch on from the sidelines. After producing ten wickets against Kings XI Punjab, their bowling attack should remain untouched for this game.
What could have potentially been two impressive knocks from D’Arcy Short in a bid to make statement early in his IPL debut has turned out to be anything but. As a result, Short is now in danger of losing his spot in the side which would be terribly-unlucky, but that’s cricket. South African Heinrich Klaasen was initially vying for a spot against Jos Buttler, but he could possibly replace Short in the XI now. That could result in Rahul Tripathi opening the batting with his skipper, then allowing Stokes to shuffle back down the order which would give them a more solid structure. All-rounder Stuart Binny is also in contention for this upcoming match against Bangalore, he’d be handy in the lower order.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Quinton de Kock (wk) 2. Brendon McCullum 3. Virat Kohli © 4. AB de Villiers 5. Sarfaraz Khan/Pavan Deshpande 6. Mandeep Singh 7. Chris Woakes 8. Washington Sundar 9. Umesh Yadav 10. Kulwant Khejroliya 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
Rajasthan Royals (possible) – 1. Ajinkya Rahane © 2. Rahul Tripathi 3. Sanju Samson 4. D’Arcy Short/Heinrich Klaasen 5. Ben Stokes 6. Jos Buttler (wk) 7. Krishnappa Gowtham/Stuart Binny 8. Shreyas Gopal 9. Dhawal Kulkarni 10. Jaydev Unadkat 11. Ben Laughlin/Ish Sodhi.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.