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Bangalore target returning to winning ways against Rajasthan

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Bangalore will be looking to register their second win of the season over Rajasthan in the 2020 Indian T20 League when the teams lock horns in Dubai on Saturday. Virat Kohli’s boys are currently in the top four in the standings but will be eager to make amends after losing to Punjab in their last game.

Rajasthan, meanwhile, have endured a tough run of results following a promising start to the season and now find themselves second from bottom in the points table. They lost their previous match against Delhi and need a win to keep their bleak hopes of a top-four finish alive.

Looking at the head-to-head between the teams, there isn’t much to separate them. The two teams have featured in 21 matches in the Indian T20 League with Rajasthan winning 10 games and Bangalore coming out on top in nine of them besides the two draws that they were involved in. Here, we look at some key battles and players from the latest clash between the teams.

Shreyas Gopal a threat to the duo of Kohli and de Villiers

Shreyas Gopal hasn’t been enjoying the best of seasons, having taken just five wickets for Rajasthan so far. The Indian spinner hasn’t looked as threatening as he did last season but can take confidence from the fact that he will be bowling to Bangalore – a team he’s enjoyed a lot of success against in the past.

Batsman

Innings

Runs Conceded

Dismissed

AB de Villiers

5

35

4

Virat Kohli

4

25

3

*Shreyas Gopal vs Bangalore’s bowlers

Of his 43 wickets in the Indian T20 League, 13 have come against Bangalore. He’s also won two Player of the Match awards for his performance against Bangalore and his best bowling figures of the 4 for 16 came against them. His record against Bangalore’s best batsmen also makes for encouraging reading. Gopal has dismissed Kohli three times in four innings and AB de Villiers four times in five innings.

Bangalore’s middle order need to do more

While the likes of Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch, Kohli and de Villiers have produced some good innings this season, the same cannot be said about Bangalore’s middle order. Their number 5-7 batsmen have struggled to give Bangalore the final push in their innings so far and have scored the second least runs (235) among all teams this season.

They have also hit the second least boundaries (28) among teams so far and their batting strike rate of 139.05 is the third-worst. A major reason behind their lack of fluency in the middle order could be the constant chopping and changing that it’s been subject to. That said, the likes of Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar have shown their capabilities with the bat in the past and need to step up soon.

Players to watch:

Bangalore – Isuru Udana

Isuru Udana hasn’t exactly set the Indian T20 League ablaze with his bowling in his debut season, with the Sri Lankan pacer going about his job quietly. Ideally, he’d have liked a few more scalps than the seven to his name at the moment even though he can take solace from the fact that he’s been Bangalore’s go-to man when needed. Udana took two wickets in the earlier meeting between the teams this season and his subtle variations as well as change of pace will be crucial against Rajasthan’s powerful batsmen.

Rajasthan – Ben Stokes

The English all-rounder showed glimpses of returning to form in Rajasthan’s last game after joining the squad late. Opening the innings for the Season 1 champions, Ben Stokes made 41 from 35 deliveries and looked like he would take Rajasthan to a victory while he was at the crease. However, his dismissal turned the tide in their last match and Stokes will want to make things right with both bat and ball when he steps on to the field against Bangalore.

Stats to watch out for:

3: Catches required by Yuzvendra Chahal to climb to third on the list of most catches taken for Bangalore in the Indian T20 League.

5: Sixes needed by Jos Buttler to reach 50 sixes for Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League.

7: Fifties by AB de Villiers against Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League, most by a player in the Indian T20 League.

17: Runs required by AB de Villiers to become the top scorer against Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League.

42.35: AB de Villiers’ average against Rajasthan in the Indian T20 League, third-highest against them.

Writer’s pick:

While Rajasthan are likely to come hard at Bangalore, Kohli’s boys will be eager to eradicate the memory of the loss in their last match. Overall, Bangalore seem like a more balanced squad and are playing the better cricket at the moment, making them our favourites to come out on top on Saturday.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Money Sharma

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