A beleaguered Rajasthan Royals (RR) will take on a hopeful Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in a do-or-die Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 match for both teams at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur on Saturday. Virat Kohli-led RCB, having won three matches on a trot, will be high on confidence and will aim to go closer to an IPL 2018 playoff spot by notching up a win and improving their net run-rate. On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals, placed sixth on the IPL 2018 Points Table, will have to win the tie with a big margin if they want to qualify for the top-four.
Both the sides have 12 points from 13 games and Saturday's match will decide their fate as a loss would mean the end of the road for one of them.
The last time these two sides met, Rajasthan Royals scored 217/4 batting first and then restricted RCB to 198/6 to win the match by 19 runs.
Bangalore boasts of a formidable batting line-up with the likes of Kohli, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Mandeep Singh and Moeen Ali, who came of age with an impressive 65 runs off 34 balls against SunRisers Hyderabad on Thursday.
RCB will once again have to rely on De Villiers (427 runs) and Kohli (526 runs) to put up a good show and power them to a win.
While Kohli failed against Hyderabad, De Villers blast 69 off 39 to help RCB post a massive total.
However, they will have to correct their bowling performance in the middle overs if they want to restrict their oppositions.
Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee will lead the pace attack while Yuzvendra Chahal will lead the spinning department.
As far as RR are concerned, they will miss the services of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and their mentor Shane Warne.
Buttler has been the key for Rajasthan's batting after smashing five consecutive fifties in his last six games and his absence will surely hurt the Ajinkya Rahane-led side.
In their absence, Rahane will have to step up and score runs for his team as he has only managed to accumulate just 291 runs from 12 innings.
Sanju Samson looks good with 391 runs from 13 games but has not fired in the last few games.
The bowling unit lacks depth as only Jofra Archer has been impressive in the last few games but an absence of support from the others is a cause of concern for Rajasthan.
Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni and Krishnappa Gowtham have been below par and need to come out with their best to stop a star-studded RCB batting line up.
Bangalore, however, will be the favourites in Saturday's crucial clash, which could be seen as a virtual semi-final.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Virat Kohli (capt), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Quinton de Kock, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manan Vohra, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini, Murugan Ashwin, Mandeep Singh, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Siraj, Parthiv Patel (wk), Aniruddha Joshi, Pavan Deshpande, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson
Rajasthan Royals - Ajinkya Rahane(capt), Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson (wk), Rahul Tripathi, D'Arcy Short, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Sudhesan Midhun, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Jatin Saxena, Dushmantha Chameera, , Heinrich Klaasen, Ish Sodhi.
(With IANS Inputs)