Unbeaten after three matches in the 2021 Indian T20 League, Bangalore will be eager to extend their perfect start to the season when they take on Rajasthan at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, April 22.
After beating defending champions Mumbai in the season opener, Virat Kohli’s Bangalore got the better of Hyderabad and Kolkata in their next two matches, and currently find themselves sitting towards the top half of the standings.
Rajasthan, on the other hand, haven’t enjoyed the best of starts to their campaign, winning just one of their three games so far. After losing to Punjab in their season opener, the first-ever Indian T20 League champions went on to beat Delhi but fell short against Chennai in their last outing.
They will be hoping for a positive result from Thursday’s clash against Bangalore and if past contests between the two are anything to go by then there’s nothing to separate the sides as far as the head-to-head is concerned.
|Bangalore vs Rajasthan head-to-head in Indian T20 League|
That said, it is worth noting that Rajasthan have a slightly better record than Bangalore for matches played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai – the location for Thursday’s encounter between the two teams.
Rajasthan have won five out of their 11 matches at Mumbai, giving them a win percentage of 45.45 per cent at Wankhede. Bangalore’s record at the same stadium isn’t as good as Rajasthan’s with three wins from 10 games and a win percentage of 30 per cent to show for their efforts.
Interestingly though Bangalore have registered their three wins at the venue in their last five matches, while Rajasthan have won twice in their last five games at the stadium.
|Bangalore and Rajasthan's record in Mumbai|
As far as potential game-changers with the bat go, Bangalore seem stacked with options with most of their big guns being in top-form. Glenn Maxwell is their leading run-getter (176 runs) this season and is followed by Ab de Villiers (125 runs) and Kohli (71 runs) himself.
Bangalore’s star batting trio will have fond memories of past encounters against Rajasthan having excelled in quite a few of those games, whereas Sanju Samson will hope that Jos Buttler and David Miller come good on Thursday. Miller has smashed a century against Bangalore in the past, while Buttler has an average of 31.42 and a strike rate of 151.72 against them.
|Best batsmen for Bangalore vs Rajasthan|
|Player||Matches||Runs||High score||Average||Strike Rate||50s|
|AB de Villiers||20||648||79*||46.28||146.6||8|
On the bowling front, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and an in-form Harshal Patel are likely to be Bangalore’s most potent weapons. Harshal, who is at the top of the wicket-taking chart this season with nine scalps, has accounted for seven wickets in four innings against Rajasthan in the past. Chahal also boasts an impressive record when facing Rajasthan having taken 16 wickets at an average of 13.06 against them.
|Best bowlers for Rajasthan vs Bangalore|
However, it would be foolish to overlook the options that Rajasthan possess in their bowling artillery with Shreyas Gopal, in particular, known to have caused all sorts of trouble for Bangalore in the past. His record against them is exceptional and Chris Morris, who has also enjoyed success at the expense of the southerners in the past, is another wicket-taking bowling option for Rajasthan.
All things considered and going by current form, Bangalore will start the match as slight favourites but they can’t afford to drop their guard against a Rajasthan team capable of beating anyone on their day.
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Featured photo: AFP / Manjunath Kiran