Bangalore: A buoyant Royal Challengers Bangalore will cross swords with South Australian Redbacks on Wednesday as the race for the semifinal spots in the Champions League Twenty20 intensifies.
RCB, who clinched their first win of the tournament defeating Somerset on Monday, are at the bottom of Group B with two points while Redbacks (three) are placed third.
Assuming that Warriors (four points from three matches) defeat Somerset (three from three) on Wednesday, RCB could qualify for the semifinals if they overcome Redbacks challenge.
Thanks to the 51-run win against Somerset on Monday, Daniel Vettori's RCB have a healthy net run rate of + 0.438.
However, rain can also decide the fate of the teams. An abandonment of Wednesday's matches will mean that Kolkata Knight Riders with four points will make it to the semis along with Warriors.
After a poor start to the tournament with two back-to-back defeats, RCB are back in contention, thanks to the Chris Gayle-inspired runaway win over Somerset.
The RCB batting has gained momentum with the top order coming to the party while posting a tournament-high total of 206 against Alfonso Thomas's gladiators.
Gayle took a rain-ravaged Bangalore by storm with a dominating show that saw the Jamaican smashing a 46-ball 86 that had the opposition bowlers scurrying for cover.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli, Saurabh Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal played the supporting role as Gayle cut loose at the square.
Given the comfort of defending an intimidating total of 206, Sreenath Arvind and Daniel Vettori did most of the damage as Somerset crumbled under pressure.
But RCB cannot expect the game against Redbacks to be a lark in the park. Led by Michael Klinger the South Australians are a well-balanced side.
Callum Ferguson will be the man to watch from Redbacks' camp as the right-hander has been in smashing form, manifested in his unbeaten 70 against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Klinger, Cameron Borgas, Daniel Christian, Daniel Harris and Tom Cooper are others who can savage any attack on their day.
Redbacks have a trump card in express fast bowler Shaun Tait. If Tait could remove the dangerous Gayle at the start of the innings, the going will be tough for RCB.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Daniel Vettori, Mayank Agarwal, Sreenath Aravind, Arun Karthik, Raju Bhatkal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chris Gayle, Mohammad Kaif, Virat Kohli, Abhimanyu Mithun, Dirk Nannes, Asad Pathan, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Saurabh Tiwary and AB de Villiers.
South Australian Redbacks: Michael Klinger, Cameron Borgas, Daniel Christian, Tom Cooper, Callum Ferguson, Daniel Harris, Tim Ludeman, Nathan Lyon, Aaron O'Brien, Gary Putland, Adil Rashid, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, James Smith and Shaun Tait.