It’s been a dreaded start to this year’s IPL for Rajasthan and Bangalore, both teams currently sit at the bottom of the standings with three-consecutive losses each. The team who loses this match is in for a difficult month of cricket, the winning side however could start to rebuild their campaign after making a bumpy start to the tournament. Virat Vohli’s RCB has undoubtedly been the shock of IPL 12 so far, cracks are starting to form which begs the question; can they recover from a start as poor as this?
It’s been a game of inches for Ajinkya Rahane and the Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 IPL so far, unfortunately they’ve found themselves on the rough end of the stick on all three occasions. There’s no doubt it would be excruciating viewing for fans of the Royals at the moment, they could have potentially been sitting at the top of the table, instead they find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum. It didn’t help Rajasthan’s cause that their trio of in-form batsmen were all dismissed for single-digit figures against Chennai last night. It was left up to Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer who very-nearly got them home, continuing their trending theme of falling agonizingly short of victory. Sanju Samson has cemented his spot at No. 3 in the team after scoring that spectacular hundred in Hyderabad, Rajasthan will be hoping the 24-year-old can find some consistency in his game throughout IPL 12. After a destructive showing in the Royals season opener against the Kings XI, Jos Buttler has cooled off significantly with scores of 5 & 6 in his past two digs at the crease. Rajasthan are in desperate need of substantial knocks from the likes of Buttler, Samson and Steve Smith who is still working his way back into the game.
Someone else who is on a fairly-lucrative IPL contract is English all-rounder Ben Stokes, and it wasn’t hard to see why as he smashed Rajasthan out of trouble against Chennai before departing for 46. Stokes has also taken four wickets in the tournament so far, although he has been fairly-expensive in the process. Royals star quick Jofra Archer produced his best performance of IPL 12 in their last match, finishing with figures of 2/17 which included a maiden. On a slow wicket, Rajasthan’s spinners had no impact whatsoever which left it up to the seamers to make vital inroads against CSK. Jaydev Unadkat continues to walk on thin ice as he conceded another hefty amount of runs, he’s being used after the powerplay but has still leaked runs for very-little reward. It might be time to give speedster Varun Aaron an opportunity in place of the wayward-Unadkat.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
A 118-run drubbing in their last outing against Sunrisers Hyderabad just about sums up RCB’s campaign so far, they’ve been ordinary to say the least and will be contemplating making some drastic changes to their playing XI. Even their superstar-duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have been kept relatively quiet, it’s a bizarre & understandably frustrating situation they find themselves in at the moment. The hype around West Indian young gun Shimron Hetmyer has all but died off, his 14 runs from three matches could put him on the chopping block. This could be his last opportunity to perform before Australia’s Marcus Stoinis arrives in India, his all-round ability will be a handy addition to this RCB side. England’s Moeen Ali hasn’t exactly set the world on fire either, he’s picked up just one wicket and failed in all three matches with the bat which could potentially extend Hetmyer’s stay in the playing XI for a bit longer. All of sudden Parthiv Patel’s role in this RCB side becomes even more vital given the lack of stability their line-up has shown.
Bangalore’s bowlers were absolutely-slaughtered by Jonny Bairstow and David Warner in the last match, so changes are expected. 16-year-old debutante Prayas Ray Barman got a taste of IPL cricket, and it was a bitter one at that as he went for 56 runs off his four overs. Both Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal also conceded 40+ runs, while Moeen Ali and Mohammed Siraj also suffered. It’s likely that one of Washington Sundar or Pawan Negi will come into the XI for Prayas in this next match as the second specialist spinner, not a bad move. RCB might have to finally bite the bullet and bring in experienced swing bowler Tim Southee as an impact bowler, the team has looked lacklustre as a bowling unit this season and needs another big name to stand up. Virat Kohli & team management has plenty of options at their disposal, now’s the time to start utilizing them.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Rajasthan Royals
- Jofra Archer
- Jos Buttler
- Sanju Samson
- Shreyas Gopal
Wildcard pick – Varun Aaron
Top 4 fantasy picks – Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Virat Kohli
- Yuzvendra Chahal
- AB de Villiers
- Mohammed Siraj
Wildcard pick – Washington Sundar
Rajasthan Royals (possible) – 1. Ajinkya Rahane © 2. Jos Buttler (wk) 3. Sanju Samson 4. Steve Smith 5. Ben Stokes 6. Rahul Tripathi/Manan Vohra 7. Krishnappa Gowtham 8. Jofra Archer 9. Shreyas Gopal 10. Jaydev Unadkat/Varun Aaron 11. Dhawal Kulkarni.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Parthiv Patel (wk) 2. Shimron Hetmyer 3. Virat Kohli © 4. AB de Villiers 5. Moeen Ali/Heinrich Klaasen 6. Shivam Dube 7. Washington Sundar 8. Tim Southee 9. Umesh Yadav 10. Mohammed Siraj 11. Yuzvendra Chahal.
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.