RCB and RPS – two teams expected to be challenging for the top four places and with it the title – have struggled in IPL 2016. The two sides will hope a win at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday is the fillip they need to go on a run and make a late surge for a place in the playoffs.
While RPS have seen their campaign derailed by injuries to some of their key overseas players, RCB's problem, as always, has been the bowling. With the batsmen in top form, team changes are not expected in that department for this crunch match against RPS, but there could be a change or two in the bowling.
Seemingly on their way to a comfortable win against KKR, in their last match, the bowlers melted under the pressure, allowing Andre Russell and Yusuf Pathan to put on a match-winning partnership and take their team home from nowhere.
All Virat Kohli can do is keep reshuffling his pack and hope one of them works, with new recruit – Chris Jordan – expected to make his IPL debut for the side. Jordan was brought in as a replacement for Mitchell Starc, who was ruled out of the tournament, and the England all-rounder will, most likely, come in for the South African Tabraiz Shamsi, who went for plenty in the match against KKR.
Death bowling is what Jordan is known for, and he showed his wonderful skills in that department during the World T20 as well, so Kohli will hope Jordan is the man that the captain can go to when the pressure is on.
Apart from that change, however, RCB might go in with a similar playing XI, unless Varun Aaron or Sreenath Aravind makes way for Harshal Patel, who like most of the fast bowlers, has been quite disappointing. Adam Milne is ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury, and RCB are expected to name a replacement soon.
RPS picked up a much-needed victory over the Delhi Daredevils in their last match, and having snapped a two-game losing streak in the process, MS Dhoni might not consider making too many changes. Dhoni is not someone who likes to tinker with the team too much, and while RPS have struggled considerably in IPL 2016 – they have won just three of their nine matches – the captain might think about going with the same playing XI that beat the Daredevils by seven wickets.
With bowling being the key at the Chinnaswamy – a lot of runs will be scored anyway, it is just a matter of what a lot is on the day – Scott Boland should keep his place in the team, having finished with figures of 4-0-31-2. George Bailey did not get to bat in that match against DD, but the Australian is likely to remain in the playing XI, unless Dhoni feels the need for the all-round skills of Albie Morkel.
Expected playing XI: RCB: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), AB De Villiers, Shane Watson, Sachin Baby, Stuart Binny, Chris Jordan, Varun Aaron, Sreenath Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal.
RPS: Ajinkya Rahane, Usman Khawaja, Saurabh Tiwary, MS Dhoni (C), George Bailey, Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Scott Boland, R Ashwin, M Ashwin, Ashok Dinda.