IPL 2020's double-headers start with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) facing Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
After an impressive start to the tournament, the Royals will go into the contest against RCB having suffered their first defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders, as they failed to chase down 175 at Dubai. Conversely, RCB will be on a high as they managed to stun defending champions Mumbai Indians after the pulsating encounter headed into the Super Over.
With two wins and a loss each, both sides will be seeking greater consistency moving ahead. Head-to-head, RCB have a slightly better record against RR, winning 10 and losing eight, with three matches producing no result.
As the teams prepare for Saturday’s battle, we take a look at three interesting player battles in the offing.
#1. Jofra Archer vs Devdutt Padikkal
RR pace spearhead Jofra Archer was sensational against KKR. He bowled super-quick and was at the batsman’s throat a number of times. He was next to unplayable in his first spell. Archer has the ability to pin down opponents with his speed. However, on occasions, he tries too hard to mix things up, and loses his rhythm in the process. Archer ensured he used pace as his main weapon against KKR, and reaped rich rewards for the same.
Young RCB opener Devdutt Padikkal has made an impressive start to his IPL career, with two fifties in three games. His confidence in playing against big names as stood out in his performance so far. He has played fearless cricket, constantly going over the top in the first six overs and unsettling his opponents. The challenge for Devdutt against Archer though would be his toughest yet. It will be intriguing to watch how he responds.
#2. Sanju Samson vs Yuzvendra Chahal
RR batsman Sanju Samson has been the standout performer for his franchise with the bat so far. He has made two sizzling half-centuries in winning causes. If his knock of 74 against Chennai Super Kings was a blistering one, he matched his brilliance with a scintillating 85 in the record chase against Kings XI Punjab. Samson’s six-hitting ability in the tournament has been sensational. Having registered a low score against KKR, he will be keen to get among the runs.
Samson has the ability to score quickly against both pace and spin. But, even the gifted batsman will have his task cutout against the wily Yuzvendra Chahal. The veteran RCB leggie has had a big role to play in RCB’s mini-renaissance so far in IPL 2020. He ran through the Sunrisers with figures of 3 for 18, and then kept things tight against KXIP with 1 for 25. Mumbai got the measure of him to some extent, but he should be confident of fighting back against RR. Samson, of course, will look to take the attack to him in what will be a battle of equals.
#3. Steve Smith vs Navdeep Saini
RR captain Steve Smith has been solid for Rajasthan at the top of the order. He slammed two fine fifties for the team in the twin victories against Chennai and Punjab. Smith pierced the gap with great precision in the two knocks, and also hit over the top with ease. However, he almost embarrassed himself against Pat Cummins. Smith tried to slog the fast bowler out of the attack, but failed miserably against his teammate’s extreme pace.
RCB’s Navdeep Saini should have observed Smith’s struggles against Cummins. The pace bowler did exceedingly well to halt Mumbai’s charge in the previous game with some brilliant yorkers. He will look to repeat the act when he comes face-to-face with Smith on Saturday. Saini has been RCB’s key pacer thus far, and hence will be expected to stand up against Smith. The Aussie, though, is a great improviser, and will look for means to unsettle the RCB fast bowler.Published 03 Oct 2020, 14:45 IST