Wounded Gayle a threat for Rajasthan

BEWARE! The demolition man is here and this time with a wounded pride. This fact about Chris Gayle is bound to vex Rajasthan Royals, who gear up to take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday.

The tall Jamaican has harassed opposition teams, much to the entertainment of the fans. But Saturday night was different as Gayle fell cheaply against the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers losing by 58 runs.

After three consecutive wins, the Bangalore franchise finally faced a team that indeed played like a ‘team.’ None of the Mumbai batsmen scored more than 50 and yet they set a huge target of 195.

Now, the Royal Challengers again face a side for which teamwork has been the only motto. The Rajasthan Royals have never been dependent on any particular player and for the most part, rely on the small but significant contributions from every department.

The Rahul Dravid-led side is coming into the match after tasting blood against the SunRisers Hyderabad. And if Bangalore can boast of Gayle, Rajasthan too have a big-hitter among them by the name of Shane Watson, the only centurion in this edition other than the Royal Challengers left-hander.

Indeed, batting-wise both teams look to have plenty of resources. If one looks past Gayle, the other batsmen in Bangalore ranks also demand special attention.

Their captain Virat Kohli is in red hot form, while Tillakaratne Dilshan is waiting to bloom. Not to forget the innovative AB de Villiers. Against Rajasthan Royals, at least one of them will have to play a big innings to get Bangalore’s campaign back on track.

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The Rajasthan Royals are no pushovers. Apart from Watson, they have Wounded GAYLE a threat for Rajasthan big names in Ajinkya Rahane and Dravid, who are capable of giving a great start.

In the middle order, Brad Hodge and Stuart Binny have been quite effective.

But the real difference between the teams lies in the bowling department.

Rajasthan’s bowling has been consistent throughout, barring a couple of matches, with Australian left- arm medium pacer James Faulkner leading the charge.

His five-wicket haul against SunRisers Hyderabad saw him climb up the ladder to get the purple cap, with 16 scalps in eight matches. He is being ably assisted by spinner Ajit Chandila and medium pacer Kevon Cooper.

Watson, Binny and Siddharth Trivedi share rest of the bowling burden and are doing a decent job.

But one thing that could bother them is that against Hyderabad on Saturday, after reducing their opponents to 29 for six, Rajasthan allowed them to go past 140. Such slackness against Bangalore might turn out to be costly, considering their firepower.

However, Bangalore’s big headache is their bowling where apart from Vinay Kumar, none have put up a good show.

Ravi Rampaul and R. P. Singh have performed in patches, but they too have been expensive at times.

Even after Saturday’s loss, Royal Challengers Bangalore have 12 points from nine matches. But if their bowlers don’t raise their game against the class of Watson and Dravid, there is a great chance that Bangalore might find the going tough for the second successive game.