Another weekend sees a double header of action in the Indian Premier League kicking off on Saturday and it does so when the Rajasthan Royals take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai as two valuable points are at stake for both teams.
It is fair to say that this hasn’t been the best competition for the Rajasthan Royals and after a win looked to spur them into life they reverted to type last time out. The Royal Challengers also come into this match off the back of a defeat so both teams will be even more eager to win.
Batting continues to be a big issue for the Rajasthan Royals and the big concern now is that their captain Steve Smith is massively short of runs in recent times. I’ve mentioned throughout this tournament that I hate overseas captains in this competition because it limits the side so much if that person doesn’t perform and we are seeing that here. Smith has moved Sanju Samson out of a position he batted well in at three and has offered nothing.
Something definitely has to give there but the other reason I don’t really like the Royals much is their overseas players pick themselves. They have spent so much money on Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer that they are committed to playing them even though the makeup of the side could do with another genuine opening batsman and someone else to finish the innings off with. If there is a positive of recent matches along with having Stokes back haven’t done a terrible job.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
I would imagine the Royal Challengers Bangalore side are quite happy that they haven’t got to play the Kings XI Punjab outfit again in this tournament because it is only them who have beaten them so far. They have beaten them pretty comfortably twice though it has to be said and that is something of a concern for the Royal Challengers because the Kings XI are currently rooted at the bottom of the table. They need a response here.
To be fair to Bangalore, outside of their battles with RL Rahul’s charges they have looked quite good in this tournament. Their batting took a while to fire up but appears to be doing the business now, when they don’t leave AB de Villiers too late in the innings to come in. Usually it is their bowlers that struggle but in the main they have gone pretty well in the tournament, and Chris Morris has added another element to their attack which further strengthens them.
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Jos Buttler hasn’t really delivered anything like the sort of power and sustained form that he is capable of and with matches beginning to run out the Rajasthan Royals could do with that changing for their overseas opener.
All eyes will be on when AB de Villiers comes into bat in this match. He was left way too long against the Kings XI last time out and Bangalore paid the ultimate price as a result. Bangalore fans will want their team to stop overthinking things and get him in no lower than number four where he has shown he can make a big difference.
I’ve already mentioned that the day games in this tournament seem to be low scoring and tough for the batsmen to time the ball and I don’t really see much changing in that regard here, especially with the wickets all having been used in the previous matches in the competition. To be fair the wickets have yet gone quite as much as I expected them to but they are starting to become difficult to bat on, and the bowlers have worked out how to bowl on them.
Neither of these sides are massive hitting teams. Bangalore rely too much on their top four to score their runs whereas there aren’t actually that many Rajasthan Royals batsmen who are in decent enough form going into this match. That makes me think that the low scoring trend of these day games is going to continue here which brings me back to a bet I’ve collected on a few times in the last week or so – the boundaries. The line for this match is actually 38.5 and is odds against. Day game history and the form of these two batting units, and the improvement in the Bangalore bowling, makes me lean on the under here.
WON – Back Under 38.5 boundaries for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with William Hill
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