RCB face stern Rajasthan test

RCB face stern Rajasthan test

Bengaluru side buoyed by victory against Kings XI on Friday

RCB face stern Rajasthan test

Rajasthan Royals are the New Zealand's version of Indian Premier League. Much like the Kiwis, they don't have enough resources nor do they boast the star power of some of the high profile teams, yet they always punch above their weight.

On the other hand, you have Royal Challengers Bangalore who are the ultimate underachievers -- much like South Africa in international cricket. For all their abundance of talent, the Proteas have been the eternal bridesmaids, often falling short of expectations. RCB don't differ much in this aspect. They probably have had the best of resources for the most part of a decade-old IPL but somehow they have failed to deliver that knockout punch.

When the two clash in their IPL 11 match here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday, it won't be quite the David vs Goliath situation but with a win in their pocket on Friday night, you would think Royal Challengers have an edge over the visitors. Both RCB and Royals have traversed similar paths in that both have lost their respective away opening matches and have won home matches. Will the RCB's home run extend to second match or the Royals will cut it short? It will be known shortly but the contest promises entertainment galore in a day game.

RCB's win against Kings XI on Friday, by no stretch of the imagination, was a jailbreak but it wasn't a stroll in the park either with Virat Kohli's men making heavy weather of a 156-run target. It was a nervy win, orchestrated as much by the South African duo of AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock as it was by the brilliance of Umesh Yadav, whose three-wicket burst in the fourth over of Kings XI's innings helped RCB wrest the initiative in telling fashion.

On a pitch where spinners had a big say from either side, batting appeared a bit difficult. For many batsmen, it wasn't easy pulling off strokes along the ground even as it paid off whenever they took the aerial route. With a fair idea about the relaid pitch now, it will be interesting to see what strategy – batting or bowling first in case they win the toss, playing an extra spinner or a spinning all-rounder in place of Sarfaraz Khan RCB would adopt.

RCB would also be concerned about their opening stands which they haven't been getting. The first match, de Kock got out cheaply while Brendon McCullum was out for a first-ball duck in the second. Losing wickets in quick succession in the middle overs isn't helping their cause either with Sarfraz proving to be a big disappointment so far. Their trump card in bowling Yuzvendra Chahal is yet to come to the party but Umesh has been a pleasant surprise package for them.        

Having beaten Delhi Daredevils in a rain-hit match in Jaipur, Royals would look to build on their success. Their batting has looked brittle reflected in their two totals of 125/9 and 153/5 (17.5 overs), while the revised target against Delhi helped their bowlers salvage themselves. Their skills and character would be put to the stern test against RCB though.

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