Bengaluru : Staring at elimination after an inexplicable batting collapse followed by a wash-out, Royal Challengers Bangalore will be aiming for revival when they clash against out-of-sorts Gujarat Lions in an IPL match here today.
The Bangalore outfit will have to win all its remaining six matches to keep alive the hopes of making the knockouts. With the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad called off here without a ball being bowled due to rain last night, Bangalore had to share a point.
They now have just five points from eight games and are lying sixth in the points table.
Come Thursday, it will be an arduous task for Virat Kohli and Co. after being dismissed for a meagre 49 — the lowest ever total in the history of IPL — against Kolkata Knight Riders. During that disastrous outing at the Eden Gardens, none of RCB’s 11 batsmen could get to double figures.
RCB’s ‘Big Three’ — skipper Virat Kohli (154 from 4 matches), Chris Gayle (144 from 5 games) and AB de Villiers (145 from 4 games) — have been inconsistent so far.
For India captain Kohli, it will be difficult to digest the fact that RCB can be out of the tournament before the knock-out phase. However, they would fancy their chances against an out- of-form Gujarat Lions, who have gathered just four points from seven games and are languishing at the bottom of the table.
The Lions batting has also been quite dismal with big guns making contributions only intermittently and would be desperate to arrest this slide. It would be interesting to see if Irfan Pathan, roped in as a replacement for injured Dwayne Bravo would be included in the playing XI. Irfan was one of the biggest names to remain unsold at the IPL auctions.
In the last nine seasons, Irfan had played for five franchises, taking 80 wickets and scoring 1,137 runs in 102 IPL matches. Gujarat will take a cue from their last win against Kolkata Knight Riders when skipper Suresh Raina scored a 46- ball 84 against a potent attack.
Raina has scored 275 in the tournament so far and is among the top five run-getters. The team would depend heavily on him against the Royal Challengers. Brendon McCullum, who is the highest run-getter for Gujarat with 258 runs, and Aaron Finch will be aiming to match the likes of RCB’s ‘Big-Three’ stroke for stroke.
Bowling has been a big problem for the Gujarat team, which has taken only 26 wickets from six games.
They will be hoping to fit in their best pacer Andrew Tye, who has taken nine wickets in four games including a hat-trick. However, Ravindra Jadeja — a key bowler in the Gujarat line-up — is yet to fire, while Praveen Kumar has also lacked pace and swing.
The only silver-lining in their bowling has been Kerala pacer Basil Thampi, whose ability to bowl yorkers at will has been impressive.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (capt), Tymal Mills, Aniket Chaudhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Vishnu Vinod, Sreenath Arvind, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (capt), Akshadeep Nath, Shubham Agarwal, Basil Thampi, Irfan Pathan, Chirag Suri, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Manpreet Gony, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhaval Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Praveen Kumar, Brandon McCullum, Munaf Patel, Pratham Singh, Jason Roy, Shadab Jakati, Pradeep Sangwan, Shelly Shaurya, Nathusingh, Dwayne Smith, Tejas Baroka and Andrew Tye.