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IPL 7 (May 11 preview ) : Battle of the Royals

May 11 ( ): The struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) meet the Rajasthan Royals (RR) at their home ground today to keep their hopes of moving to the play-offs a reality.

Rajasthan Royals had a forgettable outing the other day against Sunrisers Hyderabad, when they were dismissed for 109 chasing a moderate target of 135. It was a wakeup call for the Rajasthan batsmen and they would be happy that such a setback came at a stage where they are not in a must win situation and also have enough matches to stage a comeback by not repeating the mistakes.

The bowling has been good with Pravin Tambe leading the way with 13 wickets while there has been contributions from Watson, Bhatia, Richardson and Faulkner. They have not let other teams build huge scores and especially against RCB today, they will have their tails up as the last time both these sides met, RCB was bundled for 70 in just 15 overs.

It should be a showdown between the mighty batting line-up of the Royal Challengers consisting of Gayle, who did not play in their previous encounter in UAE, A B De Villiers and Virat Kohli.

The dilemma facing the Challengers will be whether to persist with the out of form Yuvraj Singh or to give him another opportunity. Except one innings this season, he has not contributed with either bat or ball. Giving a youngster an opportunity in his place can do no harm to RCB, but will they take such a high risk decision in a must-win situation to match it is the question.

Gayle has again stated that he is still not 100% fit , but going by his aggressive approach in the matches he has played, he will be expected to play an important role in today’s match. A B De Villiers would be expected to provide the high-octane scoring pattern he showed in his last 2 games, one of which included hitting the world’s top bowler, Steyn, for 23 runs in an over.

Kohli will back himself to get some runs as he has been out first ball, twice this IPL 7.  A loss today, will make it a must-win situation for RCB in their remaining 5 matches, a pressure situation, the team can do without.