Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals, Abu Dhabi

Pro Tip: Have enough bowling options in your XI as the match will be played on a used pitch. Expect the players who are good at manoeuvring the ball to succeed.

Our XI: Jos Buttler, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Aaron Finch, Washington Sundar, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini

Substitutes: Devdutt Padikkal, Rahul Tewatia, Shivam Dube, Isuru Udana

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Player availability: All players are available for selection.

Captain: Steven Smith
On a used pitch, Smith would be well equipped to combat the conditions. Though the Royals captain got out cheaply the other night against the Kolkata Knight Riders, it might have been a one-off failure. He is also opening the innings, which gives him the chance to face as many balls as possible.

Vice-captain: Yuzvendra Chahal
Arguably Royal Challengers' best bowler, Chahal is a definite vice-captain candidate. He has done well against the Royals since 2018, picking up five wickets at an economy of 5.27.

Hot Picks
Aaron Finch: Finch scored a 31-ball fifty in the last game, against the Mumbai Indians. Against an attack that is somewhat low on pace, barring Jofra Archer, Finch should be among the runs. In all T20s since 2017, Finch has scored 99 runs off 73 balls against Archer and has been dismissed only twice.

AB de Villiers: Another player who can be extremely effective on what could be a slowish pitch. de Villiers' ability to maneuver the balls into the gaps could come to the fore. Though he has been dismissed by legspinners on 13 occasions since 2017 in all T20s, his strike rate is an impressive 139.84.

Jofra Archer: Archer was at his best in the last game, bowling at speeds in the high 140s. Against a formidable line-up, expect him to come good again. Since 2018, in the IPL, Archer has had the highest dot-ball percentage (64.35) amongst all right-arm pacers in the powerplay (minimum 200 balls).

Differential Picks
Tom Curran: He picked up a wicket in all three games for the Royals. His variations with the ball will come in handy at the death, and don't forget he can bat as well.

Shreyas Gopal: Gopal can slot in your XI based on his record against the Royal Challengers alone. He has picked up 12 wickets in just four innings at an economy of 4.76 and a strike rate of 6.5. Given the pitches are getting slower, he could put up a show yet again.

Alternate Scenarios

  • Sanju Samson is definitely an option to look at. Since 2018, in the IPL, he has struck at 160.74 with an average of 39.45 in the first innings as opposed to a strike rate of 142.14 and an average of 32.25 in the second innings. If the Royals bat first, when the pitch is at its best, Samson can replace Curran or Gopal.

  • If the Royal Challengers bat first, de Villiers is a vice-captaincy option, too, given dew might hinder spin bowling in the second innings.

  • Wait to see if Morris plays and if he does, replace Curran with him.

  • If Adam Zampa gets another game, he is another option for Saini given the Royals line-up is expected to consist of several right-handers.