With four losses in five games, Royal Challengers Bangalore are in desperate need of a win when they turn out against fellow strugglers Gujarat Lions in Rajkot on Tuesday night. After playing three games, AB de Villiers has been ruled out once more due to injury, leaving RCB with further selection headaches.
Not that things have been going much better for Gujarat, who themselves have tasted defeat in three games out of four. It got even more bizarre on Sunday, when Aaron Finch was unable to play after he lost his kit bag.
Put simply, a win for both sides here is paramount if they hope to go on further in this IPL.
Here’s the predicted XI for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
It’s felt like an age since Chris Gayle first came within realistic distance of cracking the 10,000-run barrier in T20 cricket, but poor form has led to him either being meek with the bat or dropped altogether. But with de Villiers out, Bangalore need firepower – however inconsistent – at the top.
If it’s not Gayle then Travis Head will come in, but the former will likely be fortunate enough to get another chance.
Virat Kohli has looked dangerous since coming back from an injury layoff, hitting a quick 62 in his first game back against Mumbai Indians last Friday. He was threatening to take the game away from Rising Pune Supergiant on Sunday, but was dismissed before he could really do damage. RCB need their captain to stand up big, and they need him to do so right now. Let’s see if Kohli can rise to the occasion.
RCB like having a big top three and with AB out, Shane Watson will probably be promoted up the order. The Australian has been in poor form with bat and ball but, even so, it’s hard to see him being dropped – such is the problem that Bangalore have right now with a lack of replacements for their underperforming stars.
Kedar Jadhav showed us what he could do at the Chinnaswamy Stadium just over a week ago when he tore into the Delhi Daredevils. But since then he has been missing in action as well, with just 1, 9 and 18 in his next three games. RCB’s middle order feels rather listless post-Jadhav, so he’s another they need runs from. If Vishnu Vinod doesn’t play, then Jadhav will keep wicket too.
Mandeep Singh disappointed when given the opportunity to open against Pune and will surely drop back into the middle order, presuming he is selected. With two ducks in his last two games, this may well be the last chance for the 25-year-old Indian to show why he should be in the side.
Stuart Binny is one of many who has come under fire for RCB’s toothless performances – not that it’s been easy to bat with the top order becoming bogged down too often. If Bangalore are going to turn things around, they’re going to have to see something from their players with international experience. Whether it’s with batting or bowling that Binny does something, anything’s a bonus right now.
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Pawan Negi is yet another who has had plenty of chances in IPL 2017 but not done a lot. The all-rounder has scored 33 runs in three innings, and taken three wickets in four games – his first outing versus the Daredevils was his most notable, with an important 2 for 3 that helped RCB to their only win of the year. He’ll most likely get another go.
Adam Milne gave a good account of himself against Pune, taking two wickets after getting a chance to play since Tymal Mills was unwell. Another express pacer, Milne is a strike bowler that RCB will hope can change their fortunes around. Injury has blighted his career so far, but he’s usually good to do damage when fit to play.
Royal Challengers should not have lost after Samuel Badree reduced Mumbai to 9 for 4 with the first hat-trick of IPL 2017, but lose they did. The West Indian was a touch more expensive than we’ve become accustomed to seeing him against Pune, but he’s a vital component to a rather fragile bowling attack, which will be even more exposed in Rajkot.
Sreenath Aravind took his first two scalps of the tournament against Pune, backing up a solid performance against Mumbai where he was very economical, conceding just 21 runs from his four. The bowlers are sure to find it tough in Gujarat, so RCB will hope that Aravind can keep a lid on things.
Yuzvendra Chahal hasn’t really made the most of the slower conditions at the Chinnaswamy this year, and it won’t get any easier for him at Rajkot, which is known for producing high totals. He’s normally good for a wicket, although he was only given one over against RPS, which went for 11.