When Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) take on Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the first match of the weekend double-header in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, the contest between Virat Kohli and Steve Smith will be back on the boil. Almost all of 2019 was spent in this mystery – who among them is a better batsman. While that is always a question, the main show would be who among RCB and RR returns with two points. The Bengaluru outfit is in a happier frame of mind since their Super Over win over Mumbai Indians, while Rajasthan Royals would be a little humbled by the big loss to Kolkata Knight Riders.
RCB have two wins and a one loss from three matches, a much better situation than last year, and Kohli would be happy at the manner in which they were able to stave off Mumbai Indians and then he was at hand with bat to seal off the Super Over.
Navdeep Saini was quite the star for sending down a fine Super Over, which made the job for Kohli and AB de Villiers that much easier. Saini has been at the forefront of the RCB attack, with Isuru Udana coming in as a surprise foil, as the leggies Yuzvendra Chahal and Adam Zampa were made to toil by Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard.
As for the batting, Devdutt Padikkal has been quite the bonus at the top of the order while Aaron Finch is doing what he does best. In fact, barring Kohli, the other top four in the line-up, including De Villiers and Shivam Dube, have been quite efficient.
As for Rajasthan Royals, they were on a tremendous high in the first two matches but were brought down to earth with a thump by KKR.
Jofra Archer was sensational with the ball and the KKR total of 174 was not unachievable but the batting simply caved in front of some accurate bowling.
It can be called an aberration, since a line-up that includes Smith, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Robin Uthappa among others is not likely to fail often. But they did on the day, and paid the price.
So, it becomes inevitable that RR come back with a bang, which would make these batsmen vital when they face RCB on Saturday.
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