Royals v Royal Challengers, IPL 2014, Abu Dhabi April 25, 2014

Jolted teams seek winning momentum


Match facts

April 26, 2014
Start time 1430 local (1030 GMT, 1600 IST)

Play 04:24
Agarkar: Can't see RCB sticking with Murali

Big Picture

Two teams jolted by recent defeats will be eager to get back the winning momentum. Royal Challengers Bangalore have just a day to shake off a stunning defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders, for it was a game they weren't meant to lose. Any team needing 25 off 18 balls with seven wickets in hand would back itself to seal it, but a combination of nerves, intelligent death bowling from Vinay Kumar, and a blinder of an outfield catch from Chris Lynn turned the match on its head.

It was Royal Challengers' first defeat in three games, but more importantly, it was the wake-up call they needed to ward off complacency. Chris Gayle's likely return will perk them up, but the opening position is not their worry, for they have managed well without him. Yuvraj Singh has scores of 52*, 0 and 31 but he won't be very satisfied with his strike-rate. Virat Kohli cannot be expected to win them every game, which means the others around him have to be more consistent.

Still, the Royal Challengers may not be as concerned about form as the Rajasthan Royals will be. The team succumbed to Glenn Maxwell defending 191 and against Chennai Super Kings, they failed to chase 141. They could not pin down Super Kings at 74 for 5, and despite restricting them to a middling total, the batsmen never really asserted themselves. It begs the question of whether Shane Watson should move up the order, with Abhishek Nayar struggling. If Watson can take control at the top, it relieves the pressure on the middle order.

Watch out for

Varun Aaron had to endure negative press coming into this IPL, after he leaked 74 off only 7.5 overs in an ODI against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. Fortunately, he has managed to turn that around with economical spells. He took 1 for 9 off three overs against Delhi Daredevils and his best performance was 3 for 16 against Knight Riders. That he has managed to be penetrative without compromising on his pace is a bonus for Royal Challengers and himself.

Rajat Bhatia joked that the Dubai pitch was slower than his bowling. The experienced medium-pacer has been hard to get at because of the pace he takes off the ball, forcing the batsmen to use extra muscle to clear the long boundaries. He makes the batsmen play to his tunes and that explains his economy rate of 6.63. He was at his miserly best against Super Kings, giving away just 13 off four overs and picking up two wickets.

Stats and trivia

  • Among current players, Shane Watson is the leading run-scorer in matches between Royals and Royal Challengers, with 210 runs. The record, though, is held by Rahul Dravid (323) who has retired.
  • Virat Kohli has a below-par record against Royals, with only 158 runs at a below-par strike rate of 92 and an average of 17.55

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on April 26, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    "Chris Gayle's likely return will perk them up … Yuvraj Singh has scores of 52*, 0 and 31 but he won't be very satisfied with his strike-rate. Virat Kohli cannot be expected to win them every game, which means the others around him have to be more consistent."

    The best way to find that consistency is to bring AB de Villiers up the batting order. Period. Does Yuvraj come in before him because: 1. Yuvraj is a better batsman, or 2.RCB paid $2.3 million for him? The answer is clearly not 1.

    AB bats best when he has a few balls to settle down, & is not forced by scoreboard pressure to go big immediately. AB is a brilliant finisher , but is always at his best when he has had some time at the crease to build an innings. Yuvraj too has been a brilliant batsman,but he is not one right now: he used up just over a quarter of the balls RCB faced, and scored 31 runs.

    Over a lon ger time at the crease, AB will score more runs - now. Maybe Yuvraj will find better form? How many losses till then?

  • Dummy4 on April 26, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    Yuvi needs to bat lower in the order. He's turning out to be a liability for RCB. Patel and Takawale should open, Virat at 3, AB at 4 and Yuvi at 5.

  • Dummy4 on April 26, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    Why is Unmukt Chand not being given a chance? A genuine aggressive opener.

  • AbdulHaq on April 26, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    Hungry of waiting for gale return. interesting to see him once again hitting top of the ground!

  • Sreedhar on April 26, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    Day by day or rather night by night this season's IndianT20 League is becoming more and more interesting.The MAXMILLS innings alone is understood to have established a large number of viewers&followers on computer besides live streams on internet. The impact of Maxwell's 6s&4s have made T20 more popular. until last season when Azhar Mahmood of Pakistan had dominated Punjab.. this season no trace of him. but no one bothered about his absence because of Maxwell&Mills who have relly dominated as could be seen from their solid 6 points from 3 matches. if no bowler could stop Maxwell there is no doubt this season the cup would go to Mohali Team.

    the pietist part of the season is the lack of form of Gautam Gambhir.If he continues this way India will have to say Good bye to a wonderful lefty for ever.Even Ranji Trophy organisers would think twice before enrolling Gambhir. so has to improve necessarily.

    Chennai,Bangalore seem to be on right track so far. tonight it is going tobe superb

  • Android on April 26, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    yuvi should not come before 16th over.. he need to believe in himself and go for big hits..

  • J on April 26, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Can't help but feel that RCB will rue the acquisition of Yuvi. The last match could have been in the bag for them if only he had increased his strike rate when it mattered. RCB are left with no option but to play him in the eleven as no alternative strikers or finishers are there in their squad. Also Murali is a shadow of what he was - Jakati should be played in his place

  • Prasanna on April 26, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    I am very much eager to see Varun Aaron bowling 140+ kmph bouncers....

  • Prasanna on April 26, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    My playing XI (if Chris is fit for today's match) for RCB will be, 1-Parthiv Patel 2-Chris Gayle 3-Yuvraj Singh 4-Virat Kohli 5-AB DeVilliers 6-Takawale 7-Albie Morkel 8-Michel Starc 9-Varun Aaron 10-Ashok Dinda 11-Yuzvendra Chahal....

  • Raghavender on April 26, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    RR should consider Unmukt chand coz he will hit 20 or 30 odd runs in 15 balls which allows rahane to settle down and play long innings....and its RR day tomorrow and watson is going to explode as an allrounder tomorrow

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