Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will look to build on to their thumping win over defending champions Mumbai Indians when they face a struggling Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League match on Wednesday.
Along with another win to boost their play-off and top-two chances, RCB will be looking for a perfectly balanced playing eleven, as their marquee buy Kyle Jamieson has been below average with the ball and they have had regular middle overs slow down issues with a few batsmen in their lineup.
Last game, Shahbaz Ahmed the SLA did not bat for more than a few balls and was unable to contribute with the ball due to their opponent's LHB-RHB combination.
Playing both Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera, especially against RR, which has a lot of batsmen suspect versus Googlies, can vastly improve the RCB's bowling unit. While Wanindu Hasaranga brings top quality and modern fast wrist-spin, Dushmantha Chameera brings high pace to their bowling unit, which has only one bowler who can hit 140+ speeds but does not hit the deck as hard as Chameera. On his best days, Chameera bowls at a high pace, with incisive new ball bowling, hitting the deck hard, deceptive slower ball, and wide yorkers.
The RR team has three left-handed players in their top five, and could have four if Riyan Parag is benched, which would make it difficult for the RCB to play Shahbaz Ahmad. Instead, they should consider Suyash Prabhudesai of Goa, a middle-order player with a wide range of shots and some 360-degree shots who seems very good versus spin bowling. If RCB get a good start in the powerplay, he could be promoted up the order.
HOW TO STOP SANJU SAMSON AND LIAM LIVINGSTONE ?
Sanju Samson, the RR captain, is in some terrific form this IPL averaging 54 and striking at 142 and he has been carrying a struggling batting unit. The RR captain in a complete change in his approach this season has started all of his innings very steadily and then accelerated through the middle overs and occasionally coming off at the death too. Stopping him will be key for the RCB bowlers. RCB’s leg spinners could try a lot more googlies against Samson who has struggled a lot versus this specific variation. Since 2020 in the IPL Sanju Samson scores at just a strikerate of 108 vs googlies.
In addition, Yuzvendra Chahal has dismissed Samson a total of five times in the IPL averaging just 8.6 versus him. Wanindu Hasaranga in particular has troubled Samson with his quick googlies dismissing him thrice for only two runs in T20 cricket. RCB's quick bowlers should also try bouncers to Samson as he seems to struggle against that length and indeed since 2020 IPL he’s been dismissed twice in just 15 balls.
Another key batsman from RR against whom RCB bowlers should come prepared is Liam Livingstone. Since 2018, he has averaged 32 in T20 cricket and has scored at a massive strike-rate of 146, playing in a variety of different roles for his teams. However, he averages 26 and has scored at a strike-rate of only 118 vs Slow left-arm spin. So Shahbaz, if he plays, won’t be a bad option against him.
RCB bowlers could also try some slower ball variations to hamper his bat-swing.
GAME PLAN FOR RAJASTHAN ROYALS :
One of the major areas of concern for the Rajasthan Royals throughout this season has been the middle overs because their spinners have been as ineffective as it gets. They have the worst bowling average and economy rate in the middle-overs among all teams in IPL 2021.
They should look to replace Rahul Tewatia who has conceded runs at an economy rate of 9 and average in excess of 60 in the middle overs and has been mediocre with the bat. Mayank Markande is an obvious replacement they could try during the final phase of the IPL.
Another area they should try to improve is their powerplay bowling by bringing in Kuldip Yadav, a young Delhi left-arm pacer who has represented India U-23.
Kuldip Yadav played for Delhi in the 2019/20 U23 One Day League, picking up 7 wickets at an impressive average of 14.4 and an economy of 4.12.He has good line and length control, as well as good pace. He primarily bowls the inswinger to the RHBs and gets swing even from a length.He bowls at a good pace and has a deceptive bouncer.