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IPL 9, Match 35 Preview: Struggling teams look to continue quest for survival

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore celebrate fall of a wicket during an IPL match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on April 30, 2016. (Photo Source: IANS)

Royal Challengers Bangalore are currently placed at a lowly seventh spot in the IPL 2016 table with four points while the Rising Pune Supergiants are just a notch above on sixth. While the latter did manage to pull off a win in their previous match against Delhi Daredevils, the host for tomorrow’s match, RCB, have been struggling to find a winning formula. It will be interesting to see what strategies are used by the two captain who know each other very well.

Royal Challengers Bangalore:

With five defeats in seven games, RCB’s star-studded lineup has failed to deliver. Batting hasn’t been a cause of concern though their bowling looks ordinary at best. They were in a good position in the previous game against KKR, however, were destroyed in the latter half of the KKR innings as Andre Russell and Yusuf Pathan found their range. If RCB are to progress further in the competition, their bowling will need a considerable improvement. England seamer Chris Jordan looks likely to make his IPL debut considering his ability to bowl at the death.

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RCB would once again be relying heavily on their batsmen, hoping that opener Chris Gayle, skipper Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, KL Rahul and Shane Watson put up a massive total on the board and hope their bowlers deliver this time. Gayle will be eager to get back into form as he has scored only 8 runs in 3 games so far with the highest score of 7. None of the RCB bowlers have an economy rate of less than eight runs per over and this is a major worry for the team. Their two best performers Shane Watson and Yuzvendra Chahal with 9 and 5 wickets respectively have an economy rate of 8.60 and 8.89 to show for their efforts.

Rising Pune Supergiants:

Spate of injuries leading to the return of Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh has hampered RPS’ plans but they got some relief with the joining of Usman Khawaja, who made 30 in his IPL debut. Khawaja and former Australian captain George Bailey can bring back the mojo that the MS Dhoni-led team desperately needs. A win in the previous game must have lifted the team’s confidence. Ajinkya Rahane’s glorious form will again be critical to Pune’s chances in this match.

Dhoni hit two sixes against DD and made a significant contribution in the run-chase against DD. Thisara Perera then flexed his muscles for two lusty blow that sealed the match for RPS. If these two can continue their ball-striking form, RPS have the batting to make an impact. Like RCB, the major worry for them has also been their bowling. Aussie pacer Scott Boland has been a welcome addition to the bowling unit while Rajat Bhatia has been consistent with his military medium pace. Spinners M Ashwin and R Ashwin will need to step-up against a powerful batting lineup of RCB.

Probable XI-

Royal Challengers Bangalore:

KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, Sachin Baby, Stuart Binny, Chris Jordan, Varun Aaron, Yuzvendra Chahal, S Aravind.

Rising Pune Supergiants:

Ajinkya Rahane, Usman Khwaja, George Bailey, Saurabh Tiwary, MS Dhoni (wk/C), Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, M Ashwin, R Ashwin, Scott Boland, Ashok Dinda.

StAttack:

1. Virat Kohli with 433 runs leads the batting charts in the current edition of the IPL.

2. Ajinkya Rahane needs 17 more runs to complete 350 runs in this year’s competition.

3. RCB while defending totals since 2014: (Full 20 over games) Under 200: Won – 3, Lost – 10 Above 225: Won – 3, Lost – 0

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