Match 39 brings us yet another exciting return fixture as RR take on RCB at the MCA Stadium in Pune. In their previous encounter this season, Shahbaz Ahmed and Dinesh Karthik helped RCB pull off a heist, leading them home with 5 balls to spare in a run chase of 170 after being stranded at 87-5 at one stage.
Since then, both teams have won 3 games a piece and further solidified their team balance. Hazlewood becoming available has given RCB much needed padding in their Powerplay and death performances, while Buttler’s consecutive 100s have made sure RR do not need to look much beyond their middle-order for contributions with the bat. They have been fortunate, however, that their thin lower middle-order has not been exposed much owing to Buttler, Samson, and Hetmeyer’s brilliance, but they will have to be wary of it as the season progresses.
Predicted Playing XI
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Faf du Plessis (c), Virat Kohli, Mahipal Lomror, Glenn Maxwell, Suyash Prabhudessai, Shahbaz Ahmed, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Josh Hazelwood, Mohammad Siraj
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (c, wk), Karun Nair, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, R Ashwin, Obed McCoy, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals have played each other 25 times, with RCB winning 13 and RR winning 10. The last 6 matches between the two teams, however, have seen RCB take a resolute lead, with 5 wins and the 6th game being abandoned.
Batting Statistics at the MCA Stadium, Pune
|Average first innings score at Maharashtra Stadium||170.4||176.7|
|Average first innings winning score at Maharashtra Stadium||188.3||193.0|
|% Teams winning batting first at Maharashtra Stadium||37%||50%|
|% Teams winning chasing at Maharashtra Stadium||63%||50%|
|balls per 4 scored at Maharashtra Stadium||8.9||9.1|
|balls per 6 scored at Maharashtra Stadium||17.3||13.8|
|Average powerplay score at Maharashtra Stadium||46.0||40.9|
|Average death overs (last 5) score at Maharashtra Stadium||53.3||58.1|
Bowling Statistics at the MCA Stadium, Pune
|Spin bowling average at Maharashtra Stadium||34.1||39.6|
|Pace bowling average at Maharashtra Stadium||29.9||27.9|
|Spin bowling economy rate at Maharashtra Stadium||7.8||8.4|
|Pace bowling economy rate at Maharashtra Stadium||8.1||8.3|
|Spin bowling strike rate at Maharashtra Stadium||26.3||28.4|
|Pace bowling strike rate at Maharashtra Stadium||22.1||20.2|
Since their loss to RCB earlier this season, RR has won 3 out of their next 4 games, with their sole loss coming against GT, in their only game this season where they have had to chase a target. Overall, they have won 5 out of their 7 games and are sitting comfortably in 3rd position on the points table.
RCB have played 5 games since the win against RR and won 3 of them. A loss against SRH only a couple of nights ago meant that they lost their spot in the top 4 to the Orange Army and are now placed 5th on the table, with 5 wins out of 8 games and a poorer net run rate compared to the 3 other teams with equal points.
RCB (Overs 1-6)
Faf DuPlessis in the Powerplay this season: 81 runs, 99 balls, 4 dismissals, SR: 81.8
Virat Kohli in the Powerplay this season: 25 runs, 24 balls, 4 dismissals, SR: 104.2
With Anuj Rawat having failed to make a mark this season, Kohli might be sent one position up, to open the innings with Faf. However, they have both been contained well in this phase by bowlers this year. RCB have scored at 6.56 runs-per-over in the Powerplay this season, and with both their openers having subpar numbers in this period, expect them to have another lukewarm Powerplay.
Trent Boult and Prasidh Krishna have had productive Powerplays with the ball, with 8 wickets between them in the 7 games at a strike rate of 21.75.
Prediction: RCB to score 30-40 runs; RR to pick 1+ wicket.
RCB (Overs 7-16)
Glenn Maxwell in Overs 7-16 this season: 41 runs, 25 balls, Average: 20.5, SR: 164.5
Maxwell vs Chahal in T20s: 120 runs, 70 balls, 5 dismissals, Average: 24.0, SR: 171.4
Maxwell vs Ashwin in T20s: 115 runs, 55 balls, 2 dismissals, Average: 57.5, SR: 209.1
RCB has scored at 8.46 runs-per-over in this phase this year, and their last few games have exposed the brittle nature of their middle-order as well.
Maxwell has started off with positive intent in the couple of opportunities he has gotten to bat in this period this year, and it is likely that RCB’s performance in this phase will depend heavily on how he matches up against Chahal and Ashwin, both of whom he has interesting records against.
Chahal has gotten the better of him 5 times in the 70 balls he has bowled to him, but Maxwell has been able to score at a considerable rate against the Purple Cap holder.
Prediction: RCB to score 70-80 runs in this phase; Chahal to get 1+ wicket.
RCB (Overs 17-20)
RR’s bowlers have conceded 11.3 runs-per-over at the death this season, with Boult in particular being expensive with an ER of 14.17. Boult and Krishna, RR’s two regular bowlers through this phase, have only taken 3 wickets between them at the death this season. If RCB are able to enter the slog overs with Dinesh Karthik’s wicket intact, expect him to score heavily against the RR pacers, like he did in their first meeting this season.
Prediction: RCB to score 45+ runs in this phase; Karthik to hit 2+ sixes.
Score Prediction: 170-180
RR (Overs 1-6)
RCB’s Bowling Economy Rate this season: 8.0
RCB’s Powerplay wickets this season: 8
Josh Hazlewood in the Powerplay this season: 9.0 overs, 3 wickets, ER: 7.44, Average: 22.3, SR: 18.0
RCB have taken the joint least number of wickets in the Powerplay this season, with their ER in this phase being higher than the average ER of 7.66 this year. Hazlewood’s introduction into the XI, however, has had a positive impact on their Powerplay performances, and he will be aiming to add to his economical tally of Powerplay wickets.
RR, on the other hand, have scored at 8.43 runs-per-over through the Powerplay this season, with Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikall getting them off to brisk starts in each of their partnerships so far. Buttler has been in blazing form this season, with 222 runs at a strike rate of 150 in the Powerplay, and it is likely that he will continue with his run of good form in this match as well.
Prediction: RR to score 45+ runs in the Powerplay; Hazelwood to take 1 wicket.
RR (Overs 7-16)
Sanju Samson vs Wanindu Hasaranga in T20s: 8 runs, 15 balls, 4 dismissals, Average: 2.0, SR: 53.33
Samson has had a tremendous run in overs 7 to 16 this season, with 151 runs at an average of 30.2 and SR of 164.1 in this phase. However, the last time these teams met, as well as in 3 of the 4 times he has batted against Hasaranga in T20Is, the Sri Lankan wrist-spinner has got the better of the RR captain.
Hasaranga has been able to contain Buttler as well, conceding only 21 runs in the 30 balls he has bowled to him in this format, despite not having dismissed him. How Buttler and Samson tackle Hasaranga will be a key determinant of how RR performs in the middle overs, which the two have been remarkable in throughout this season.
Prediction: RR to score 70-80 runs in this phase; Hasaranga to get 2+ wickets.
RR (Overs 17-20)
Shimron Hetmyer at the death this season: 153 runs, 62 balls, Average: 76.5, SR: 246.8
Harshal Patel at the death this season: 10.0 overs, 1 wicket, ER: 9.90, Average: 99.0
Mohammad Siraj at the death this season: 7.0 overs, 1 wicket, ER: 16.0, Average: 112.0
RR have delivered some phenomenal finishes this season courtesy of Hetmeyer’s pyrotechnics and Buttler’s consistency. Harshal, last year’s Purple Cap winner, has struggled to contain runs and take wickets with the consistency that he did last season, and the story is no different with Siraj, who has leaked runs at an ER of 16 in this phase.
RCB will need at least one of them to step up to support Hazlewood, who has been their most consistent death bowler this season. He has taken 3 wickets at an ER of 8.75 in the 4 overs he has bowled in this phase, and RCB will be depending on him to deliver to be able to control the run-flow if RR enter the slog overs with any of Hetmyer, Samson, and Buttler still around.
Prediction: RR to score 40+ runs in this phase; Harshal to take 1 wicket.
Score Prediction: 175-185
- RR to win a closely contested game
- Jos Buttler to be the highest run-scorer
- Yuzvendra Chahal to be the highest wicket-taker