Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals, two sides who have failed to get going this season will have the opportunity to get off the mark and resurrect their campaign when they lock horns at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. RCB need to sort out their team combinations, while Rajasthan have to identify areas where they can improve and get over the line.
There will be key player battles in the match and here in this article, we take a look at three critical player battles which could define the context of this IPL match.
Virat Kohli vs Dhawal Kulkarni
For some reason, Virat Kohli has not enjoyed the Rajasthan Royals bowling attack over the years. The skipper has only scored 319 runs in 17 innings, which is the lowest for him against any side. Also, Dhawal Kulkarni has found way to trouble the right-hander as he picked up his wicket on 4 occasions and has given away only 71 off 91 deliveries.
A repeat of the same in Jaipur and RR will be well on their way.
AB de Villiers vs Shreyas Gopal
Although de Villiers has fared better against Rajasthan as compared to Kohli, he has struggled to decipher the spin of Shreyas Gopal. 15 runs off 21 balls and 2 dismissals, Gopal certainly has clouded in the previous seasons and Rahane could toss the ball to the leggie as soon as AB de Villiers takes guard in Jaipur.
Sanju Samson vs Umesh Yadav
This contest has been nothing short of entertaining over the years. Explosive batting, boundaries and wickets. In 38 balls, Sanju has hit Umesh for 69 runs but has also been dismissed thrice which makes it a fairly even contest.
Umesh will have the new ball and Sanju will walk out at number three which will be a key phase in the match and both players would want to get one up over the other.
Predicted XIs of the side:
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Steven Smith/Ashton Turner, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Shreyas Gopal
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (wk), Moeen Ali, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini
If we win the smaller moments in T20s we will do well. We have played well in the last three games and hopefully, with some luck, we'll be able to turn it around - Ajinkya Rahane said before the match.