The Royal Challengers won their second match of IPL 2018 in the last over to open their account this season. The Rajasthan Royals also managed to sneak in a win against the Delhi Daredevils in a rain-affected match. Traveling to Bengaluru and winning against RCB, though, is going to a whole different kettle of fish.
Both the teams have shown some vulnerabilities and both have some team balance issues to take care of. The conditions also promise to be conducive to some wonderful cricket. We could have a wonderful match on our hands.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Virat and his man showed that they are not just one trick ponies as they eaned on their bowing to keep them in the match against the Kings XI Punjab. Washington Sundar is the one bower that really comes to mind as the standout performer in that match. He recovered from a poor first outing and showed real character by bowling his four overs for just 22 runs.
Of course, the initial breakthroughs were provided by Umesh Yadav who picked all his three wickets in just one over. Umesh Yadav can be very unpredictable in the shortest format of the game and you should be wary of putting too much stock on him in the upcoming matches.
The problem for RCB has been with the performance of Woakes and Chahal. Both of them were expected to lead the attack but have had trouble finding their rhythm. Still, there is enough to suggest that RCB has a potent attack at its disposal.
The real strength of RCB is their batting, though. With a top-4 comprising of McCullum, de Kock, Kohli, and de Villiers, one or the other batsman will come good on most days. In fact, AB de Villiers is showing the kind of form that should make all the opposition teams quiver.
Brendon McCullum just needs to give himself a little more time and we have no doubt that he will be at his best as well in no time.
RCB will also be pleased with the kind of maturity Mandeep Singh has shown. He, Sarfaraz Khan, Woakes, and Washington Sundar form a very formidable lower order that allows RCB to go hard from ball one.
Everything is coming together for RCB nicely and they now have an early win to start their season well. This is a team that will climb towards the top of the IPL league table very quickly.
The Rajasthan Royals were a little lucky to get a win against the Delhi Daredevils in their last match. Rajasthan was 153 for 5 in 18 overs when the rain hit. Thankfully for them, though, the rain hit for such a long time that the Delhi Daredevils had to chase down a stiff target which they failed to do so.
In that small bowling stint, though, the Rajasthan Royals showed some very potent quality. Jaidev Unadkat is a very improved young bowler and has picked up some pace to go with his variations. He will return to Bengaluru for whom he turned out last season.
Dhawal Kulkarni has the ability to take some early wickets with the new ball although he does struggle at the death. Kulkarni must try and nip out a couple of RCB’s top batsmen early otherwise his team could be in for a world of hurt.
The most important cog in this bowling lineup, though, is Ben Laughlin. Coming to the IPL on the back of some brilliant Big Bash performances, Laughlin is very difficult to hit in the death. Rahane will likely use him to break partnerships or save him for the death if he gets the opportunity.
The two Indian spinners are a little untested and could struggle against a star-studded RCB lineup.
The Rajasthan Royals also must find a way to keep Darcy Short from being run out! He has yet to really get a start in this tournament and will probably find the RCB wicket to his liking.
If Short and Rahane are able to provide their team with a fast start then the likes of Stokes, Samson, and Joss Buttler could really cash-in.
The Rajasthan Royals have a strong batting lineup and they must come to the party against an RCB bowling attack that can be put under pressure. Rahane himself will have fond memories of one of his best ever IPL innings played at this ground a couple of years back.
Riding on individual brilliance, CSK is one of the top two teams in the points table. They’ll now take on Kings XI Punjab who lost to RCB in their most recent encounter where they failed to even last twenty overs. Ravichandran Ashwin, who was an integral part of CSK a couple of years ago, will now be captaining KXIP and will be hoping to put up a superior performance against a side he’s played for eight years. With CSK playing after two years and a new look KXIP side, the tickets are already sold out and we expect a cracker of a game on Sunday, 15th April.
KINGS XI PUNJAB Kings XI Punjab made a strong statement as they starting off their IPL campaign with a win against Delhi Daredevils. Against RCB, they scored 155 while batting first, but lost the match by four wickets.
Batting first, KXIP got off to a blazing start courtesy of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. However, they could not get the momentum going and lost three quick wickets which brought down their scoring rate quite considerably. KL Rahul was once again brilliant with the bat, but no support for him in the middle order allowed RCB to claw back and they were restricted to a modest total of 155.
The defense of 155-runs total was never going to be easy, but the way their bowlers made a match out of it was commendable. Mujeeb Ur Rahman picked up an important wicket of Virat Kohli and did not allow RCB’s scoring rate to climb up. Tye and Sharma were smashed for runs in their first overs, but they bounced back beautifully during the death overs.
Kings XI Punjab have overall played extremely good Cricket, but their batting looked to be a little subdued in Bengaluru. They were twenty runs short on a good batting pitch and they’d have to play out of their skins as they’ll have to face tactical prowess of MS Dhoni in an all-important encounter.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS The news that Chennai Super Kings won’t be playing anymore at the Chepauk during this year’s IPL is a big setback to the team as well as fans alike. Although their key players in Suresh Raina and skipper MSD have failed to fire, their knack of finding heroes have ensured that they stay within the top two spots as far as the points table is concerned.
PCA’s pitch will be a lot different to what they’ve played on in the tournament so far. Their spinners will be a little relieved as they’ll be bowling in a slightly bigger ground, but they’d have to be wary of KL Rahul’s form.
Barring Imran Tahir, CSK’s spinner have lacked consistency and both Harbhajan and Jadeja didn’t get to complete their allowed quota of four overs in any of their games. Batting hasn’t clicked and the absence of Suresh Raina will add to the woes of their batting department.
Sam Billings and Shane Watson’s knock kept CSK in the hunt in the last game despite a poor show by Raina and MS Dhoni. We may see Murali Vijay drafted into the playing XI to take Raina’s position and Rayadu back into the middle order. CSK have already lost two of their best batsmen due to injuries and it won’t be surprising if they decide to pack their batting department and pick Faf du Plessis in the playing XI as a trial by spin waits for them.