Bengaluru: Their backs against the wall, struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to outgun title-contenders, Gujarat Lions in a must-win IPL clash to keep alive their play-off hopes on Saturday.
Currently lying at a lowly sixth position in the points table, Bangalore need to win their remaining four matches to possibly make the play-offs and Virat Kohli’s men will go full throttle on Saturday to boost their confidence.
The Royal Challengers will like to forget their last game against defending champions Mumbai Indians, who thumped them in their own backyard.
A loss on Saturday, however, will shatter their dreams to make into the play-offs and as usual the onus will be on skipper Kohli, who has come out all guns blazing so far, putting the rivals on the mat.
He is donning the orange cap for having scored 568 runs, which includes two tons and four half centuries. Besides the captain, Bangalore have also been relying heavily on their star batsman AB de Villiers, who has amassed 409 runs in 10 matches so far in the tournament.
Lokesh Rahul also has stepped up and chipped in with an unbeaten 68 to guide the team to a respectable 151 for four in their last match. Australia’s Shane Watson has also proved to be an important cog in Bangalore’s wheels with some crucial contributions.
Royal Challengers will be hoping Chris Gayle to fire all cylinders, which could be the best answer to neutralise their pedestrian bowling attack, which has failed to even defend 180-plus scores in some of the matches.
Their two best performers with the ball have been Watson and Yuzvendra Chahal but the likes of Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron and Chris Jordan have all leaked runs.
On Saturday, Royal Challengers bowlers would have to put up a much better performance to support the team’s batting department.
Meanwhile, IPL debutants Gujarat will be coming into the match after defeating the consistent Kolkata Knight Riders with an eye to jump to No. 1 position in the points-table, where Sunrisers Hyderabad are perched for now.
However, they will also be wary about their signs of wilting at the business end of the tournament, and will like to come out of it.
Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina is beginning to show signs of struggle, weighed down by the burden of captaincy.
If their top heavy batting comprising the terrific trio of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith is a boon, it’s also turning out to be their bane.