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IPL 10, Match 34, RPS v RCB Preview: Royal Challengers Bangalore face Supergiant challenge in do or die encounter

RPS had won the match when the two teams last met in the tournament this year.

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore. (Photo Source: BCCI)

The 10th edition of the IPL has reached the halfway stage of the tournament. A couple of teams look good to make the cut for the playoffs and a few are heading towards the rock bottom. Royal Challengers Bangalore have had a horrid run in the season thus far. Having played 8 matches in the season till now, they have only two wins under their name. They have been a tad unlucky too, and have seen a game being washed away.

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They now need to win all the remaining fixtures to ensure that they make it to the playoffs. RCB’s first assignment in the do-or-die session now begins when they take on the Rising Pune Supergiant at Pune. Beating RPS in their den should be an uphill task. Having said that, one needs to take into consideration the fact that the Supergiant has not been in a great form either.

They lost their previous match against the Kolkata Knight Riders at Pune and are jolted at the moment. RPS cannot take their position in the points table to be a safe one. A win here and there for the bottom ranked teams would mean a direct swap for them from the top 4 to the bottom four. Amidst this scenario, they will also be giving their best shot going into this game.

Expect a high-intensity game on the cards when RCB lock horns with RPS at the MCA Stadium in the first match of the double header of Super Saturday.

Toss: Royal Challengers Bangalore won the toss and opted to field

Virat Kohli: We are gonna bowl first. Usually, Pune is a good chasing ground. The wicket tends to play better under lights. Nothing is impossible. Last year we needed four out of four, we did that. Let’s see what happens today. We have made three changes. Gayle, Mandeep and Chaudhary are out. Binny, Baby and Milne come in.

Steve Smith: We would have bowled first as well. We have won two in two. We haven;t put our whole team performance together. Stokes has not quite fully recovered. Deepak Chahar comes in place of Shardul ThakurLockie Ferguson replaces Faf du Plessis.

Playing XI:

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli(c), Travis Head, AB de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav(w), Sachin Baby, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Samuel Badree, Adam Milne, Sreenath Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal

Rising Pune Supergiant: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith(c), MS Dhoni(w), Manoj Tiwary, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Jaydev Unadkat, Lockie Ferguson, Imran Tahir

Focus will be on

Virat Kohli

RCB skipper Virat Kohli has a lot to worry about. He had started off his season with a masterly knock of 62 that gave hopes to the RCB fans that the fortunes could turn for them. However, since then, he has only played one more innings of substance that came against the Gujarat Lions. Kohli has failed to be among the runs in the top order. His string of low scores at the top is perhaps putting a little too much pressure on Royal Challengers Bangalore middle order that has the habit of relying on Virat Kohli.

AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers is as valuable an asset for RCB as skipper Virat Kohli. Last year, both Kohli and AB had single-handedly won matches for the franchise. This year, AB has choked in the pressure situations. After the departure of Kohli, the team looks up to AB to play an innings of an anchor. But AB has failed to live up to the expectations and the situations. Coming to a pressure game such as this, the team management would want AB to take more responsibility in the middle order.

MS Dhoni

No matter which team he plays for, MS Dhoni is always under the pressure to perform. In the recent times, he has been under the scanner for underperforming in the shortest format. However, Dhoni had silenced the critics with an unbeaten fifty against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He failed in the next game against Mumbai Indians but was back to his hard hitting ways in the game against Kolkata Knight Riders. With the wicket-keeping gloves, his prowess remains under no cloud. He is arguably the best in the business.

Team Combinations:

Rising Pune Supergiant

Rising Pune Supergiant have looked largely settled with their combinations and it has been the bowling that has let them down. RPS openers Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi have been constantly getting runs in the top order. Steve Smith and MS Dhoni have been chipping in with crucial contributions in the middle order but need to play longer innings and not the cameos.

Ben Stokes is likely to be back in the match for Faf du Plessis. Du Plessis would consider himself unlucky if he is benched but roping in an all-rounder would beef up their bowling lineup that has lacked penetration thus far. Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur have to ensure they get wickets with the new ball since their performances in the death overs have been far from being impressive.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

RCB have had a plenty of problems to deal with. Their batting has not been firing in the recent matches and that has cost them dearly. Over-reliance on the top three has resulted in a completely fragile middle-order that has proved to be an incapable middle-order. Despite this, the team management has very little choices left coming into the game. They are likely to draft in Tymal Mills in the lineup at the expense of Travis Head.

Aniket Choudhary might be the one missing out as well with Mills coming in. At his expense, the team can draft in another batsman. Stuart Binny is the favourite for the position but someone like Sachin Baby might get a game as well. Samuel Badree and Yuzvendra Chahal have been doing a great job in the spin department – perhaps the only bright spot for RCB this season.

StatAttack:

3 – Number of RCB batsmen with 20 or more fifties in the IPL (Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, and Virat Kohli).

3 – Number of times both teams have faced each other in the IPL, RCB has won two of them and RPS has won one.

262 – Number of sixes hit by Chris Gayle in IPL. He stands with a country mile lead with Suresh Raina being the next in the list with 167.

1660 – The total number of runs scored by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers for the RCB in the IPL 2016.

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