Jaipur: Rahul Dravid's Rajasthan Royals would be a confident bunch fresh off their eight-wicket win against Sunrisers Hyderabad, as they prepare to host table-toppers Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in game 40 of IPL 6 on Monday.
Both Rajasthan and RCB have produced impressive performances this year with Bangalore sitting at the top of the points table with 12 points and Rajasthan at third with 10. Coming into this match, Bangalore's confidence might have been a little dented following a 58-run loss to Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
Rajasthan will be high on morale in what seemed like a "cakewalk" against Hyderabad and will look to extend their good form coming into Monday's match. With almost all 11 players coming good, this match is surely expected to be a cracker. Bangalore, who have quite simply been the most dominating side this season, would look to break their 'away' jinx when they visit Jaipur. With all of their six wins being at home, RCB have to pull up their socks in order to prevail as the better side.
Bangalore shouldn't be worrying too much about their setback in the previous match. Chris Gayle continues to be their top bet. After his less than run-a-ball 18 which came off 20 balls, the swashbuckling opener would be more than keen to rekindle his brutal self. Virat Kohli has been one of the better batsmen in IPL 6 along with AB De Villiers who has always accelerated RCB's run-rate towards the end of the innings. However, Tillakaratne Dilshan's form remains a cause of concern because he has not looked comfortable in the middle and has struggled to have a good strike-rate. Moises Henriques might come in for him due to his all-round capabilities.
In the bowling department, the RCB bowlers have been a decent bowling unit if their bowling against Mumbai is to be taken out of consideration. RCB bowlers conceded 194 with all their bowlers going at more than eight per over. Ravi Rampaul has been the leader of their attack supported nicely by Jaydev Unadkat. RP Singh has been a disappointment and provided he takes part in the playing XI, would look to erase his memories when he was hammered for 33 runs in his last two overs against Mumbai. Vinay Kumar has been Bangalore's most successful bowler with 14 wickets from nine games. Spinners Murali Kartik and Syed Mohammed have been able to restrict the run-flow more often than not.
Rajasthan, on the other hand, have been a brittle batting unit in its previous two encounters as they look for another comprehensive innings from in-form Shane Watson whose last two scores have read 101 and 98 not out. Watson's form has been a talking point and the Australian allrounder would like to continue his glorious outing with the bat.
Ajinkya Rahane has been the perfect opening partner to Watson providing Rajasthan with useful opening stand up the order. Their middle order is strengthened with the ever-reliable Dravid who has often managed to provide solidity to the Rajasthan innings. Brad Hodge, Stuart Binny and Dishant Yagnik have also come good when required of them.
Their bowling has obviously been strengthened with the addition of Watson who has recovered from injury and is all set re-establish himself as a a genuine all-rounder. The team will also be on a high thanks to James Faulkner who produced figures of 5 for 20 which rattled the Hyderabad top order to set them reeling at 29 for 6. Faulkner now holds the Purple Cap with 16 wickets from just six games.
The contest between these two teams is sure to be an eye-catching fixture as both teams have been quite superb this entire season.
Rajasthan Royals: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Rahul Dravid (capt), 4 Stuart Binny, 5 Brad Hodge, 6 Dishant Yagnik (wk), 7 Sachin Baby, 8 Kevon Cooper, 9 James Faulkner, 10 Siddharth Trivedi, 11 Ajit Chandila
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Saurabh Tiwary, 6 Murli Kartik, 7 Arun Karthik (wk), 8 Syed Mohammad, 9 Ravi Rampaul, 10 Vinay Kumar, 11 Jaydev Unadkat