The Royal Challengers Bangalore really should be going into the IPL 2015 match against the Rajasthan Royals on a four-match winning streak, considering they won their first match, away from home, and then had three games in the fortress-no-more Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Instead, RCB find themselves in a mire, second from bottom – and that is only after the Mumbai Indians lost rather handsomely to the Delhi Daredevils on Thursday -- in the points table, with three losses on the spin, all of them at home. When you have Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers in your lineup, you should be winning games consistently, but, yet again, RCB have struggled to gel as a unit, and put 40 overs – or even 20 overs, considering the batting strength – together to win games.
Had it not been for a brilliant knock from Gayle in Kolkata in their first match of the season, RCB would have found themselves with four losses in four games, and the job of getting out of that mire they have dug themselves into does not get any easier against the Rajasthan Royals.
The Royals finally tasted defeat after five wins in a row, when the Kings XI Punjab dramatically got the better of them in the Super Over. A loss like that can be sometimes hard to take, but RR will also know they tied the game in the 40 overs, with KXIP doing better in the shootout that is the Super Over.
Confidence will still be pretty sky high for the Rajasthan Royals, and the fact that this game will again be played in their adopted home of Ahmedabad will only spur them on further to picking up a sixth win in seven IPL 2015 games.
One player who will have confidence dripping through every single drop of sweat will be Ajinkya Rahane, who has been far and away the best and most consistent batsman so far in IPL 2015. Coming off a 74 against Kings XI Punjab, albeit in a losing cause, Rahane will look to continue his terrific form against an RCB bowling lineup that has flattered to deceive more often than not.
"I think the kind of cricket we are playing the momentum is good and the team is in a good space," RR opener Rahane told IPL's official website. "The way we are backing players and playing our cricket is good.
"In T20 when an odd result doesn't go your way, it is important that we as a team play all the 40 overs with 100 percent commitment. We believe in commitment, result is the end thing. It is important to put in the full effort."
The man who can stop Rahane and Shane Watson from running away with the game at the top of the order is Mitchell Starc, who was impressive in his return to IPL action against the Chennai Super Kings, even if he would have liked to pick up a few more wickets.
Starc was included in the team at the expense of Chris Gayle, which raised more than a few eyebrows, and the feeling is Gayle will be back for the match against the Rajasthan Royals, probably in the place of Rilee Rossouw, who could not make the most of his opening-the-batting opportunity against CSK.
The way the Royals are playing at the moment, RCB will probably need all of Starc, Gayle, Kohli and De Villiers to fire to snap their three-game losing run, and even that might not be enough, considering RR have somehow found a way to bank wins this season more often than not.
Where to Watch Live
Get the Report, Score and Match Highlights HERE
The match between RR and RCB is scheduled to start at 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET) with live TV coverage in India on Sony Six (English commentary), Sony Max (Hindi), Sony Kix (Telugu and Tamil) and Sony Aath (Bengali). RR v RCB can also be watched via live streaming online on HotStar and Starsports.com.
Viewers in the UK and Europe can tune into Sky Sports to catch Rajasthan Royals vs RCB live, while the live stream option is on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports. Catch the match live in the Middle East on OSN, while the action can also be live streamed on OSN Play.
ESPN Cricket is the place to go to live stream Rajasthan Royals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in the US, while the game can also be watched on ESPN. Audience across the world can go to Cricketgateway.com to catch the big IPL match live.