Battle of GOATS

RR’s record at Abu Dhabi.


Royal Challengers Bangalore: Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Shivam Dube, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Isuru Udana, Navdeep Saini, Adam Zampa, Yuzvendra Chahal

Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Smith (c), Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Tom Curran, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat

Virat Kohli: It’s dry heat, but it’s not so bad. We are playing with the same XI. We wanted to bat first as it’s a day game, better to get into the game in the first six overs of the match. Getting a strong squad together, it’s good to see the youngsters doing the job for us, that’s what we have focused on. Dube contribution, Chahal’s always a banker and AB does what he is good at doing.
Steve Smith: We’ll bat first. It’s a day game, pretty warm out here, so we want to bat first and set a target. We got one change, Lomror comes in for Ankit (Rajpoot). It’s a long tournament, you are going to win games, lose games. Hopefully, we’ll put on a good show today. Ben (Stokes) is a quality player, adds to our squad once he’s arrives.
TEAM NEWS: For RR, Mahipal Lomroro replaces Ankit Rajpoot.
TOSS NEWS: Rajasthan have won the toss and Steve Smith decides to bat first.

Hello and welcome back to Timesofindia.com’s continued coverage of the 13th edition of the IPL that enters its 15th day, which will see the first double-header of the 2020 edition. The first game will be played between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals and the late-evening fixtures will see Delhi Capitals taking on Kolkata Knight Riders.
The RCB vs RR game in Abu Dhabi will begin at 3:30 pm IST, with the toss as usual happening 30 minutes prior, at 3 pm IST.
Until then, here’s the in-depth Match Preview for RCB vs RR game to whet your appetite:
The first afternoon game of this edition of the Indian Premier League will be as much about countering the opposition as adapting to conditions. In a battle of the Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore will face off against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday to mark the beginning of double-headers. The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi is uncharted territory for both teams who will make their maiden appearance at the venue this season.
Rajasthan and RCB both have four points from three games played, courtesy two wins and a loss apiece. The winner moves closer to the top of the table, though at this early stage, that holds little significance. RCB come into the contest on the back of a Super Over win over Mumbai Indians, while RR suffered a crushing 37-run loss to Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday. With both teams seeking consistency, the contest offers interesting subplots.
For starters, it renews the relationship between Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. Their rivalry runs deep, both as captains and as quality top-order batsmen. They have shown contrasting form thus far. Kohli has endured a rare prolonged lean spell, mustering just 18 runs from three matches. Twice, he has fallen to left-arm seamers while in the last game, he was dismissed by Rahul Chahar to reinforce the belief that he is vulnerable against leg-spin.
On Saturday, he runs into leggie Shreyas Gopal, an old nemesis. Although Shreyas has been leaking runs aplenty, the fact that he has dismissed Kohli thrice in their last four meetings will not be lost on either skippers. Incidentally, the leggie also has a 100% success rate against AB de Villiers in four matches.
Smith, on the other hand, scored half-centuries in both his team’s wins in Sharjah, but was all at sea against Kolkata Knight Riders’ Pat Cummins in the last match.
While RCB’s middle-order has looked shaky throughout, the chinks in the RR line-up too have been exposed, Rahul Tewatia’s heroics against Kings XI Punjab notwithstanding. Robin Uthappa, batting lower down the order, has yet to find form, a concern that extends to Riyan Parag as well.
On the bowling front, while spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar have been encouraging, no end seems in sight to RCB’s death-over woes. Against MI, they conceded 89 runs in the last five overs, and were lucky to escape with a Super Over win. RR have a formidable attack led by Jofra Archer, who has been unplayable at times.
After Joshua Philippe failed to fire, de Villiers was given the additional responsibility of keeping wicket in the previous match, but it will be no surprise if RCB rid him of the big gloves. It will be a tough ask for the big-hitting South African to handle the extra workload in the sweltering afternoon heat and humidity. In that case, it will be a toss-up between Philippe and Parthiv Patel.
With dew taken out of the equation in the afternoon game, adapting swiftly to conditions will prove decisive.


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