After going down to the Delhi Capitals yesterday, RCB has gone from walking on a tightrope to walking on a whisker as their playoffs chances slowly-diminish. They were on the road to recovery with three-consecutive wins, but now they find themselves fighting to stay alive in a do-or-die match against Rajasthan who also need to keep winning to stay in the playoffs contention.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
That recent-loss in Delhi was a huge blow to the Royal Challengers campaign, the only way they were going to threaten the playoffs was with momentum. They appear to have stumbled upon a brick wall; skipper Virat Kohli has felt the full force of it with scores of 9, 13 & 23 after that electric-century against Chennai, and AB de Villiers hasn’t been at his ultra-consistent best either despite that destructive 82 not out against Kings XI. One man who has upped his game considerably as the tournament’s gone on is Parthiv Patel, the 34-year-old proving that age is just a number. Parthiv’s last three innings have consisted of 53 against Chennai, 43 against Kings XI and a rapid-fire 39 against the Capitals. With the loss of Moeen Ali who’s flown back to England and Dale Steyn who appears to have picked up an injury, RCB has definitely been thrown into the deep end. Numerous changes were made to the playing XI in the last match, it’s anyone’s guess as to who stays and who go’s. One things for sure, it’s going to take a batting-miracle from Virat and ABD to keep RCB afloat with two games remaining.
RCB’s bowling attack was super-impressive right up until the final two overs of Delhi’s innings where 36 runs were conceded. In the end, that’s probably where the game was lost for RCB. Bangalore quick’s Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini didn’t bowl well at all to the Capitals lower-order, they had their foot on the throat and let go which would’ve seen the skipper absolutely fuming. Again, changes are likely given the group stage-phase of the tournament is almost done and dusted. Usually the individuals sitting on the bench throughout the tournament would get a bit of game time now, but the fact that RCB are still a slim-chance to make the playoffs could possibly change their mindset. Washington Sundar looked promising in his first outing with the ball, and Shivam Dube’s return to the side was a successful one scoring 24 off 16 deliveries.
An outstanding all-round performance with the ball must have given Rajasthan a huge confidence-boost leading into their two remaining group stage fixtures. They were without their frontline bowler Jofra Archer who’s been a key contributor for the Royals in this year’s IPL, but the rest of the attack was up for the challenge. Rajasthan’s trio of seamers made an absolute mess of Hyderabad’s batting order, they were unable to capitalize on the strong start given to them by Warner and Pandey which resulted in the Royals quick’s cashing in big time. Speedster Varun Aaron appears to have taken over Archer’s role in the team as the strike bowler, he’s been superb in his last two matches with 4 wickets. Big-Windies seamer Oshane Thomas has been a much-welcomed addition to the side and has also added 3 wickets since his inclusion, and Jaydev Unadkat repaid the Royals for their faith & loyalty with a vital contribution with the ball (2/26) when the pressure was on. Let’s not forget spinner Shreyas Gopal, he added another two wickets to his already-impressive tally of 15 wickets this season.
Talk about stepping up at the right time, having played just one-single match in this year’s IPL, England’s Liam Livingstone opened up for the Royals and delivered on potential with a powerfully-struck 44 off 26 balls. It was enough to get the team off to a flyer, giving the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson and Steve Smith the option to get themselves set before playing any expansive shots. There’s no-doubt whatsoever that Livingstone will be featuring in these final two group stage matches, possibly even the playoffs if Rajasthan can pull it off. They’ll head into this match knowing they’ve got what it takes to bring down RCB a second time in this year’s IPL, Riyal Parag and Stuart Binny’s power-hitting at the backend of the innings gives the Royals even more stability. Rajasthan has had an even-spread of run-scorers in the 2019 IPL with Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Sanju Samson all scoring 300+ runs this season.
Top 4 fantasy picks – Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Parthiv Patel
- Virat Kohli
- Yuzvendra Chahal
- AB de Villiers
Wildcard pick – Shivam Dube
Top 4 fantasy picks – Rajasthan Royals
- Ajinkya Rahane
- Sanju Samson
- Shreyas Gopal
- Oshane Thomas
Wildcard pick – Riyan Parag
Royal Challengers Bangalore (possible) – 1. Parthiv Patel (wk) 2. Virat Kohli © 3. AB de Villiers 4. Heinrich Klaasen/Shimron Hetmyer 5. Marcus Stoinis 6. Shivam Dube 7. Gurkeerat Singh Mann 8. Washington Sundar 9. Umesh Yadav/Mohammed Siraj 10. Yuzvendra Chahal 11. Navdeep Saini/Kulwant Khejroliya.
Rajasthan Royals (possible) – 1. Ajinkya Rahane 2. Liam Livingstone 3. Sanju Samson (wk) 4. Steve Smith © 5. Ashton Turner 6. Riyan Parag 7. Stuart Binny 8. Shreyas Gopal 9. Jaydev Unadkat 10. Varun Aaron 11. Oshane Thomas.
INJURIES – Royals skipper Steve Smith appeared to hurt his previously-injured elbow after taking a stunning catch against Hyderabad, he went on to score 22 with the bat which indicates that he should be right to go against RCB, it’s by no means a certainty though.
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.