Royals set to be flushed

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals
Thursday 21 April 11:00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Bangalore boom

Bangalore are on fire with three straight wins, justifying pre-tournament optimism that this could, finally, be their year.

Ominously for their rivals, they could get better. So strong have they been that they have not always used their full quota of overseas players. This gives them flexibility to make improvements.

Is it time to end the experiment of Virat Kohli opening for example? Kohli has been slow and put his team in trouble twice. Finn Allen could come in, with Kohli moving to number three. Or they could find room for Dan Christian to add even more batting firepower, Daniel Sam’s left-arm missiles or Kane Richardson’s control.

Possible XI Allen, Paddikal, Kohli, Maxwell, AB De Villiers, Sundar, Jamieson, Harshal, Saini, Chahal, Siraj

Royals in a mess

You can still get 10/3 that Rajasthan finish bottom of the table. Their one success over Delhi Capitals is perhaps papering over the cracks.

With Jofra Archer still absent and Ben Stokes out of the tournament, they have significant issues working out their best XI. The above price looked like a bet on how long it would take them to do it. Now and they might be okay. However, Liam Livingstone’s withdrawal is a hammer blow.

His availability solved the problem of snail-like Shivam Dube at number four and would have allowed them to drop Mustafizur Rahman for a homegrown pacer like Kartik Tyagi. They now only have five overseas players in the squad (AJ Tye yet to play). Manan Vohra’s lack of runs up front with Jos Buttler is also an issue.

Probable XI Buttler, Vohra, Samson, Dube, Miller, Parag, Tewatia, Morris, Unadkat, Sakariya, Mustafizur

Pitch is flat

More than 180 has been busted four times out of six in the first-innings in Mumbai this season. It is a fantastic batting track. It could well be a question of how many Bangalore get if they bat first. We’re expecting decent numbers for 220, 230 or 240 or more.

And don’t be afraid to keep hitting high numbers. Rajasthan are most expensive in the death overs. More than 50 or 60 runs off the last four will give good options for low risk on the innings runs market.

Sportsbook go 13/10 that both team score 170 or more. Unfortunately the Royals, who were razed by Chennai on this ground chasing last time out, cannot be trusted. They are too reliant on Buttler and Sanju Samson. The 17/2 that a ton is scored in the first bet looks a bet, though, keeping fingers crossed that RCB bat first.

RCB can chase anything

Bangalore are 1.664/6 with Rajasthan Royals 2.3811/8. If RCB bat first then we’re looking at 1.3030/100 on them at the break, so it would be folly to start getting involved pre-toss.

The best strategy is to hope Royals bat first and muster something useful. We expect Bangalore to be able to chase anything - and I mean anything - against the worst attack in the tournament.Going after 170-200 should be straightforward for them. But, in truth, we’d be taking decent numbers about something bigger.

RCB should welcome switching to the flat surfaces of Mumbai after Chennai. Long-term, we should be able to gauge whether they have truly solved their bowling issues.

Stick with Kohli

Rajasthan are going to have to do something to shake up their batting. One answer could be promoting Riyan Parag or Rahul Tewatia to provide impetus. At 12/1 and 18/1 respectively both fit the bill in terms of win rates on the last three years database.

Sportsbook have again price-boosted Kohli to top score. He is available at 13/5. Should we retain the faith? Only if the price is wrong. On win rate it gives us three points. He is overdue. He also has a fabulous record on strike rate against Mustafizur (141), Chris Morris (131) and Jay Unadkat (122).


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