A battle Royale in Bangalore

Rahul DravidRajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid during a practice session ahead of their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. (PTI)

It will be a clash between the teams near the top of the table when the Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Rajasthan Royals at home. Rajasthan are the form side of the tournament with four wins out of five, the latest an 87-run thumping of Mumbai Indians. Bangalore are second, with four wins and two losses, but haven't always looked in command mode.

Two of their six games this season have been decided by Super Overs.

Eggs in one basket

It is not really difficult to pin down Bangalore's strengths. The belligerence of the top order papers over other areas of weakness, like the brittle middle and lower order that has already let slip at least two easy run chases. Virat Kohli dons the orange cap currently with 321 runs at a staggering average of 64.2 and strike rate of 140.17.

Not far behind are Chris Gayle (208 runs at 52) and AB de Villiers (140 runs at 46.66). But from there on, the pickings have been lean.

The fourth highest scorer for the side is Mayank Aggarwal, with 67 runs from five innings. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Bangalore fell from 85/3 to 127/8. Against Delhi Daredevils, Bangalore again collapsed from 129/2 to 138/7. Both games went down to the Super Over.

Unpredictability

If the strength and weakness of the Bangalore side seems to be set, Rajasthan has thrived on unpredictability this season. The side opened with five different bowling partners in its first five games, have shuffled their batting order as and when required and have several T20 specialists (Brad Hogg, Owais Shah) sitting on the bench.

But no matter which side has turned up, Rajasthan seems to have a winning eleven on the field. The presence of all-rounders like Stuart Binny and Kevon Cooper, and Rahul Dravid's own inclination to move up or out of the order depending on the match situation means the side has a fluid batting set up. Having opened with spinners, or with the genuine pace of Shaun Tait or swing of Sreesanth, Rajasthan's bowling too has proved difficult to read so far.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.