IPL 2018 | Match 53 | RR vs RCB: Rajasthan Royals will clash with the Royal Challengers Bangalore today at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur at 16:00 IST. Both teams will be engaged in a knockout match just before the playoffs.

Sawai Mansingh Stadium is known to be batsmen-friendly and with high temperatures in the forecast, this will be a difficult match for a day game. 

Both RR and RCB hold twelve points with six wins in thirteen matches. RCB is riding high on confidence after three consecutive victories and will look to increase their net run rate and move into the top four. RR, on the other hand, have a more difficult task at hand. They are placed sixth with a net run rate of -0.403, the third lowest in the tournament.

If RCB wins, they will jump directly to third place after which their NRR and the performance of the other teams will decide whether they will make it the playoffs or not. For RR, only a win by a massive margin will allow them to retain a position in the top four for more than a night. A loss will push the teams down to the point of no redemption.

The last time the two teams clashed RR posted a massive 217 and succeeded in restricting RCB to 198.

The Virat Kohli-led side boasts of formidable batting power with the likes of AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali and Mandeep Singh. Their win against the superior bowling attack of SRH has built their confidence on that front as well. They must, however, work on their bowling during the middle overs to relieve the pressure on the death over bowlers. Pacers Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee will alternate with spinner Yuzvendra Chahal to cover that area.

RR broke its winning streak as they tasted defeat in the hands of the Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday night. They started with a score of 63 for nothing and within a few overs, shifted to 107 for 7. The team has become highly dependent on Jos Buttler who scored five consecutive half-centuries to keep the team in the game. Sanju Samson hasn’t served any more explosive performances since the beginning of the season when he made the headlines every other day. But at least his average is over thirty, unlike captain Ajinkya Rahane who has been declining with every game. None of the other batsmen have displayed any talent at the crease worth mentioning.

RR will not have their superman Buttler to help them this time as he leaves to join his England test squad to prepare for the upcoming series against Pakistan along with Ben Stokes. Rahane had much to say about the subject and remains confident.

“We will miss them,” Rahane was stated as saying. “I’m really happy for Jos because as a player you dream of playing Test cricket. It’s everyone’s dream to represent their country. I’m very happy for them. We are going to miss his inputs and his batting. Even Stokes – his all-round skills and his inputs. He’s bowled really well. We’ve got 3-4 overseas players who are equally good. It’s all about playing your best in that one game and I’m sure boys will step up. Whoever gets an opportunity will do well. We have to back ourselves, stay positive and stay together.”

So for RR, it all comes down to finding a partnership that clicks. Hopefully, with no Buttler to hide behind, the team will realize the enormity of the situation they are in and step up, as Rahane promised.

In case of bowling, only Jofra Archer has had an impressive run on the field. Jaydev Unadkat, Krishnappa Gowtham, and Dhawal Kulkarni will have to rise up and support Archer to stop their opponents.

Taking all this into account, RCB has the higher probability of emerging victorious but RR does not look like it is ready to give up just yet.

A match where even the numbers are going to play an integral part, this is going to be everything a cricket fan can hope for as it kick-starts the final matches before the playoffs.

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