IPL 6: RCB vs RR - Rajasthan Royals Preview
The IPL promises some great matches, both for fans and neutrals. And it will be reaffirmed on Saturday night when the Royals lock horns with each other, with Rajasthan playing their away match at skipper Rahul Dravid’s home venue, Bengaluru. Dravid would be sitting at the visiting team’s pavilion in the ground, and that would bring back a lot of vivid memories for the veteran. What is more interesting is the fact that the opposition captain might have more knowledge of the pitch than that of the home team. The contest also presents two contrasting teams in picture – one is an over-rated team that fails under pressure and another is a highly under-rated team which could spring a bag of surprises. What makes this contest even more interesting is the fact that the calmest captain takes on the most aggressive captain of this year’s IPL in the battle of the Royals.
RR’s biggest strength this season has been the versatility of its batting order. Shane Watson has got two good starts and he will be yearning to convert those into big ones, while his opening partner Ajinkya Rahane seems to have been inspired by Dravid’s presence and has acquired a reassured calmness in his batting. Dravid will be eager to make things count in front of his home crowd and Brad Hodge’s T20 experience will once again come into the fore when they take on the inconsistent RCB bowlers at the Chinnaswamy stadium today.
Stuart Binny has definitely been RR’s find of the season so far, with his batting and bowling exploits swinging matches in their favour on two occasions. Dishant Yagnik and James Faulkner are very capable of playing useful cameos to post huge totals.
Dravid has often used his bowling attack very sensibly, clearly reading the strengths of the opposition. RR have often opened the bowling attack with spinners like Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and Dravid would have though of a plan to deal with the explosive batting order comprising of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Sreesanth has performed well in patches, while Siddharth Trivedi has bowled with zeal, knowing his limitations. Kevon Cooper and James Faulkner have been RR’s trump cards at the death.
The Chinnaswamy stadium at Bengaluru is more of a belter and chasing teams have always fared better than the teams batting first. Gayle-storms haven’t been very frequent this season and RR would be hoping for calm weather today.
Head to Head
RCB and RR have met each other ten times in the IPL, with Rajasthan emerging victorious on five occasions and one match getting washed out in 2011. Last year, the away teams were on the winning side in both the matches, with RR beating RCB by 59 runs at Bengaluru, thanks to a Rahane ton and a four-wicket haul from Trivedi.
Shane Watson is capable of dominating bowling attacks all over the world and a RCB bowling line-up with Vinay Kumar, RP Singh and Unadkat might not be too much trouble for the Australian. Should he get going on this pitch, RCB will have their task cut out for them.
Ajit Chandila scalped ‘Pondulkar’ in the same match and expectations will remain high during this match. If he opens the bowling attack again, Gayle might just be tempted to go after him, and it would be interesting to watch how Chandila handles the monster.
RR’s strategy tomorrow would be to bat first and put up a daunting target on the board for a power-packed RCB batting line-up and then to get the ‘Big Three’ of their batting order out early with the help of tactician Rahul Dravid.
RR’s XI has been the toughest to predict this year with Dravid fielding local talents in every match depending upon the conditions.
Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid (C), Brad Hodge, Stuart Binny, Dishant Yagnik (W), James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, Siddharth Trivedi.
My money would be on Rajasthan Royals as RCB’s bowling has looked fragile this year; and if they could get Gayle and Kohli out earlier, then it could well be a one-sided game.