Bengaluru: Their backs against the wall, struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will look to outgun title-contenders, Gujarat Lions in a must-win Indian Premier Clash (IPL) clash to keep alive their play-off hopes, in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Currently lying at a lowly sixth position in the points table, Bangalore needs to win their remaining four matches to possibly make the playoffs and Virat Kohli's men will go full throttle on Saturday to boost their confidence.
The Royal Challengers will like to forget their last game against defending champions Mumbai Indians, who thumped them in their own backyard.
A loss on Saturday, however, will shatter their dreams to make into the playoffs and as usual the onus will be on skipper Kohli, who has come out all guns blazing so far, putting the rivals on the mat.
He is donning the orange cap for having scored 568 runs, which includes two tons and four half centuries. Besides the captain, RCB have also been relying heavily on their star batsman AB de Villiers, who has amassed 409 runs in 10 matches so far in the tournament.
KL Rahul also has stepped up and chipped in with an unbeaten 68 to guide the team to a respectable 151 for four in their last match. Australia's Shane Watson has also proved to be an important cog in Bangalore's wheels with some crucial contributions.
Royal Challengers will be hoping Chris Gayle to fire all cylinders which could be the best answer to neutralise their pedestrian bowling attack, which has failed to even defend 180-plus scores in some of the matches.
Their two best performers with the ball have been Watson and Yuzvendra Chahal but the likes of Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron and Chris Jordan have all leaked runs.
Come Saturday, RCB bowlers would have to put up a much better performance to support the team's batting department.
Meanwhile, IPL debutants Gujarat will be coming into the match after defeating the consistent Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) with an eye to jump to number one position in the points-table, where Sunrisers Hyderabad are perched for now.
However, they will also be wary about their signs of wilting at the business end of the tournament, and will like to come out of it.
Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina is beginning to show signs of struggle, weighed down by the burden of captaincy. Raina however, is set to miss out on his first-ever IPL match on Saturday, as he is in Holland at present
If their top heavy batting comprising the terrific trio of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith is a boon, it's also turning out to be their bane.
The trio's failure has translated into the team's losses as their Indian combination of Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Dinesh Karthik, whose match-winning 51 was the exception against KKR, is hardly making any impact.
Having relished the success provided by their overseas recruits, Raina is struggling when it comes to his individual contribution with a solitary half-century to show so far.
Finch, who has four half centuries, has been their best batter this season and dropping him down the order has not helped their cause.
In the bowling department, pacers Dwayne Bravo and Dhawal Kulkarni have been their best bowlers, having taken 12 and 10 wickets respectively so far and the team will rely on them.
Chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik, who has generated much curiosity with his Paul Adams-like action, and veteran leg-spinner Pravin Tambe will also look to bring out their best.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (C), Varun Aaron, Abu Nechim, S Arvind, Samuel Badree, Stuart Binny, Yuzuvendra Chahal, AB De Villiers, Praveen Dubey, Chris Gayle, Travis head, Iqbal Abdulla, Kedar Jadhav, Akshay Karnewar, Sarfraz Khan, Vikramjeet Malik, Mandeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Lokesh Rahul, Parveez Rasool, Kane Richardson, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas, Shane Watson, David Wiese, Chris Jordan, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (c), Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Ishan Kishan, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik, Sarabjit Ladda, Amit Mishra, Akashdeep Nath, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, Shadab Jakati, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dale Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye.
Published Date: May 14, 2016 11:14 am | Updated Date: May 14, 2016 11:14 am