It’s time for the Royal battle, as Rajasthan Royals take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday afternoon in Abu Dhabi. Here are the key match ups from the game.
AB de Villiers vs Jofra Archer
51, 28 and 55*. These are the scores of AB de Villiers going into the game against Rajasthan Royals. The RCB middle order batsman is going at a strike rate of 186.11 in the tournament, single handedly lifting the middle order. Even when Virat Kohli has struggled, de Villiers has taken bulk of the batting load and RCB now have 2 wins from 3 games. He tore apart MI’s best bowler - Jasprit Bumrah - in the previous match. Can he do the same to Rajasthan Royals’ best bowler - Jofra Archer?
Archer is coming from 1/26, 0/46 and 2/18 in the IPL so far. He was terrific against KKR in the previous game and nearl got the job done in the middle overs. Steve Smith had kept him waiting for the likes of Andre Russell. Expect Archer to come straight into the attack when de Villiers is on song.
Yuzvendra Chahal vs Sanju Samson
Samson smashed 74 off 32 against CSK, setting the tone for the rest of the season. He was particularly hard on Piyush Chawla, who went for 55 runs from his 4 overs. Samson hit Chawla for 27 off 7 balls, taking the legspinner to the cleaners. Every time it was in his zone, Samson put all his might behind the ball and sent it over the ropes. He then followed it up with 85 off 42 against KXIP, which had two legspinners in Ravi Bishnoi and M Ashwin.
Samson will face a stronger test against RCB, who have one of the best limited-overs leggies in world cricket now - Yuzvendra Chahal. He’s got 3/18, 1/25 and 1/48 (figures spoilt by Kieron Pollard assault) in the three games. He’ll be the key player to try and stop Samson.
Shreyas Gopal vs Virat Kohli
14, 1 and 3. These are Virat Kohli’s scores so far this tournament. This can’t go on for too long. Kohli will be confident that a big one is just around the corner, and Rajasthan Royals could well be the team at the wrong end of the assault. The fact that he walked out for the Super Over against Mumbai Indians and hit the winning runs will give him confidence too.
RR, though, have a bowler who has had success against Kohli - legspinner Shreyas Gopal. He got both Kohli and de Villiers two times each in IPL 2019, and will be looking for a repeat this year.