Bangalore: Two teams riding high on confidence after their brilliant start in IPL 6 will lock horns to reach the summit of the points table. League leaders Rajasthan Royals will take on second-ranked Royal Challengers Bangalore in a much-awaited match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.
Rajasthan are coming off a thumping win over Mumbai Indians while RCB beat Delhi Daredevils in a Super Over thriller in their previous encounter. Both teams are level on points but RR lead the standings because of a better run rate and also have played one game less than RCB.
Bangalore's batting has set up and clinched wins, with skipper Virat Kohli being in superb form and leading the IPL 6 run charts with 321 at 64.20. Chris Gayle has two blistering unbeaten half-centuries to his name but his other four innings have produced just 30 runs; however, he is fourth on the list with 208 at 52. AB de Villiers at No. 4 has looked good whenever he's come to the crease, and this means RCB's superstar trio is the worry for any opposition.
But apart from these three, the other batsman have really struggled this season. Mayank Aggarwal and Lokesh Rahul have failed to make the mark so far and the home side have this struggled to find a partner for Gayle at the top. The ploy to send Agarwal and Rahul to open with the explosive West Indian has not worked. The RCB think-tank may give Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan a go once again, depending upon playing conditions.
Bangalore's bowling will be once again led by Ravi Rampaul, who can generate good pace and bowl at the death as well. RP Singh on the other hand has struggled in the previous two encounters and will be hoping to get his form back. Bangalore might also look to swap Murali Karthik for Syed Mohammad as Karthik's experience will give him the edge against Rajasthan's batting.
Rajasthan on the other hand have not depended too much on one individual; theirs has been a collective effort to script victories and Rahul Dravid's team will be hoping to the same against the RCB. Led by Dravid, the team has a bunch of Indian talents which have given them the edge over the other teams so far. Ajinkya Rahane looks in fine nick at the moment with two back-to-back match winning-innings. Shane Watson also was able to find some form against Mumbai and will be hoping to get a big score under his belt on a good batting deck in Bangalore. Dishant Yagnik and Brad Hodge will be once again be key in the middle order.
Sreesanth, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny and the wily Kevin Cooper will lead Rajasthan's bowling line-up, with offspinner Ajit Chandila hoping to prove the impact performer again after dismissing Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in the previous match.
The rival captains have led their respective sides admirably well and from the front too with fine batting performances. Expect a thrilling encounter.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Chris Gayle, 2.Tillakaratne Dilshan/Lokesh Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Mayank Agarwal, 6 Arun Karthik, 7 Syed Mohammad/Murali Kartik, 8 Vinay Kumar, 9 RP Singh, 10 R avi Rampaul, 11 Jaydev Unadkat
Rajasthan Royals: 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Rahul Dravid (capt), 4 Dishant Yagnik (wk), 5 Brad Hodge, 6 Stuart Binny, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Kevon Cooper, 9 Sreesanth, 10 Siddharth Trivedi, 11 Ajit Chandila