The RCB won all three of their IPL 2021 fixtures in Chennai, a surface where they were expected to struggle. With the team now set to play at the batting-friendly Wankhede in Mumbai, Virat Kohli and co. should be licking their lips at the prospect of extending their best-ever start to an IPL season.
Batting first, they went past the 200-run mark in their last game against KKR before a clinical bowling performance ensured the RCB won the contest by 38 runs.
While Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers have been firing with the bat, RCB's bowlers have also done a good job, especially in the death overs.
If everything is clicking for RCB, the Rajasthan Royals find themselves at the opposite end of the spectrum. Liam Livingstone will play no further part in the IPL 2021 due to bubble fatigue, bringing RR down to their last five overseas players.
They will head into Thursday's fixture on the back of a 45-run loss to the Chennai Super Kings. RR's batting collapsed like a pack of cards following Jos Buttler’s departure, with their middle-order problems resurfacing against CSK. Sanju Samson is running out of time to find the right balance as RR look to spend another season near the bottom of the standings.
History isn’t too harsh on the Rajasthan-based franchise when one looks at the head-to-head record, though. Both RR and RCB have 10 wins each, but the latter won both the fixtures in IPL 2020.
IPL 2021: RCB vs RR Match Prediction
The change in venue may prompt RCB to slightly rejig their side. Playing three spinners may not be viable on a batting-friendly Wankhede wicket where dew plays a role.
While Mohammed Azharuddeen may feature against RR, RCB coach Mike Hesson hinted at the possibility of providing Finn Allen with a chance as well. Daniel Sams is fit and available for selection, and the Australian could make his RCB debut on Thursday.
RR have a settled team, but poor performances may force them to bring some fresh faces in. Manan Vohra hasn’t done enough at the top of the order, and it may be time to give Yashasvi Jaiswal a run in the middle.
Shivam Dube has failed to impress, but RR don’t have much choice but to persist with the all-rounder. Another change could see Shreyas Gopal come in, considering his superb record against Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The leg-spinner has dismissed Kohli and De Villiers a combined seven times in T20 cricket.
RR will also need Sanju Samson to fire, with the skipper scoring just five runs in his last two games. Yuzvendra Chahal is likely to be tasked with sending the RR skipper back to the pavilion. The RCB leg-spinner has dismissed Samson five times in T20 cricket and showed glimpses of getting back to form in the last game.
With a run rate of 11.75 in overs between 16 and 20, RCB are one of the most destructive sides during this phase. RR, on the other hand, have one of the worst-performing death bowling attacks, with the side leaking 12 runs per over this season.
RCB look like the most menacing outfit in IPL 2021 and Wankhede is a tailor-made venue for them. Expect Virat Kohli's side to continue their winning run and dispatch RR with ease on Thursday.
Prediction: RCB to win