Fort Jaipur next stop for RCB on road trip
Match factsApril 29, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
Big PictureFor a team at the top end of the points table, Royal Challengers Bangalore seem to have many doubters at the moment, all of them asking whether the side is capable of winning away from the Chinnaswamy Stadium. They did nothing to dispel the doubts with an utterly sub-par performance against Mumbai Indians on Saturday, and next up they have one of the tougher away assignments in the IPL: Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur.
The numbers this season seem to warrant questions, with Royal Challengers winning six out of six at home and losing three of three away. However, as captain Virat Kohli pointed out, in Hyderabad it came down to a Super Over and in Chennai the difference between a win and a loss was "two inches". For relief, Royal Challengers can also look to the results from last year, when they won five of eight away and only three of seven completed games at home. After the Royals game, they have four more games on the road before returning to the Chinnaswamy. They will be keen to silence the detractors sooner rather than later.
To do that in Jaipur, they will have to hand the home team their first defeat at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium this season. Royals have won four out of four here, with particularly dominant showings in their previous two games: they crushed Mumbai Indians by 87 runs on April 17, bowling them out for 92, before reducing Sunrisers Hyderabad to 29 for 6 on Saturday. Sunrisers might have recovered to 144, but Shane Watson proceeded to slam 98 off 53 balls - ending two short of consecutive hundreds - to ensure the home team ended on a big high.
The Jaipur pitch has been assisting the seamers this season, offering bounce and movement, and once again Royals are likely to pack the side with pace bowlers. They would have noticed how Royal Challengers' top order struggled against high-quality pace bowling in Mumbai and will be looking to produce some of the same to keep their batting stars in check.
Form guideRoyal Challengers Bangalore LWWWL (most recent first)
Rajasthan Royals WLLWW
In the spotlightTillakaratne Dilshan has 76 runs in five innings at 15.20 in this IPL. More damningly, his strike rate has been 81.72. Against Mumbai Indians, facing fellow Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga, he swung and missed with regularity. He has done so a lot this season. Royal Challengers will have to decide whether the out-of-form Dilshan commands one of the overseas players spots in their XI, especially with the Jaipur pitch promising a stern test for the batsmen facing the new ball.
Fast bowler James Faulkner claimed the first five-for of IPL 2013 against Sunrisers Hyderabad. At the end of the game, he led the tournament's wicket tally. He has conceded less than a run-a-ball so far. In Australia's first-class competition this season, he played a central role in Tasmania's triumph with 39 wickets at 20.33. Last week, he was named in Australia's Ashes squad. Safe to say, he's enjoying a purple patch. Royals will need him to keep firing well into the business end of the tournament.
Stats and Trivia
- Chris Gayle, with 54.97, is the only player with a batting average over 50 in the IPL (min 1000 runs). Shane Watson is one of only three players averaging in the 40s - his 42.08 is fourth on the list, behind Gayle, Michael Hussey and Shaun Marsh
- Ajit Chandila's economy rate of 4.66 is the best among bowlers who have bowled 15 overs or more in IPL 2013
Quotes"Just one off day and people have already started saying we can't win away from home. But the [previous] two [away] games that we lost were not thrashings but last-ball finishes. Had we executed our plans well, we would have had eight wins out of nine."
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli is not panicking after his team's loss to Mumbai Indians
"My main role is to bowl with the new ball and my thinking is to bowl dot balls. The more the dot balls I bowl, the better it is for me - the batsmen try to attack and I get wickets."
Rajasthan Royals offspinner Ajit Chandila defines his role in a team that has been building strategies around pacemen
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo