Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) travel to the den of Gujarat Lions for a face-off between the two bottom-placed teams in the league table. However, both sides contain plenty of star players and hence there won’t be any shortage of action at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
The onus is on the experienced names to rise to the occasion and help grab the two vital points on offer.
With a victory for either side removing them from the ignominious last spot, the stakes are pretty high for the Tuesday clash. Let us take a close look at the top four head-to-head battles that can have a major impact on the match.
#4 – Praveen Kumar vs Virat Kohli
Incredibly consistent in a format which has been designed to induce fickleness, Virat Kohli’s presence at the top of the order is vital for RCB’s batting fortunes. If there is one chink in his armory, then it could be sharp swing bowling.
Even though Twenty20 cricket does not put a batsman’s skills against the moving ball to a stern test, negotiating the early stages of the innings does not come without its fair share of quandaries.
There are very few better Indian seamers than Praveen Kumar who can swing the new-ball and challenge a batsman’s game around the off-stump. Despite his advancing age, his ability to make early inroads remains intact as evidenced by Gujarat’s last three games. His battle with Kohli can make a massive difference on how the events unfold.
#3 – Samuel Badree vs Brendon McCullum
Having bid adieu to the international arena, Brendon McCullum’s hunger does not seem to satiate. Capable of tearing apart bowling attacks with his explosive style of batting, the former New Zealand skipper continues to bring crowds to the game.
He provided quick-fire starts to Gujarat’s innings in their last two games. That three of his four dismissals thus far have come against wrist-spin could indicate his Achilles’ heel.
With his tight stump-to-stump line that can stifle a batsman's flow, Samuel Badree can aggravate McCullum's issues against leg-spin. It will be interesting to see if the right-hander decides to use his feet against the wily 36-year old.
#2 – Adam Milne vs Suresh Raina
Upon signing T20 specialist Tymal Mills for a jaw-dropping INR 12 crores, RCB decided that they were not getting good value for their money and replaced the left-armer with Adam Milne in the previous match against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS).
The Kiwi bowler relies solely on his extra pace and hits the deck hard. Although he does not possess subtle variations like Mills, his control seems to be quite reasonable for this format.
On a Rajkot pitch expected to facilitate adequate carry, Milne will be looking to use the short ball to significant effect against Suresh Raina . The left-hander has looked in decent touch in the tournament thus far. But, he did struggle to break the shackles in the preceding game against Mumbai Indians.
#1 – Andrew Tye vs AB de Villiers
With his remarkable 5/17 against RPS on IPL debut, Andrew Tye managed to register the eighth best figures in the tournament’s history. He now returns to the venue of his crime in order to have a go against RCB’s power-packed batting lineup.
Although chances of replicating a similar performance does not appear to be too high, the 30-year old from Australia could settle for the prized scalp of AB de Villiers.
Since the stunning 46-ball 89 against Kings XI Punjab in Indore, the dynamic South African batsman has been kept relatively quiet. Tye’s combination of slower deliveries and yorkers makes for a fascinating tussle against the versatile nature of de Villiers.