Bombay: Runaway leaders Gujarat Titans would seek to continue their winning momentum ahead of the playoffs, while Royal Challengers Bangalore need a big win to keep their hopes alive for the final four stages as the two teams face off in their final IPL league game here on Thursday.
Newcomers GT have had a dreamy opening season so far, as they have already secured first place in the standings with 20 points from 13 races.
RCB, on the other hand, had a mixed bag this season, with seven wins and six losses to take fifth place with 14 points from 13 games.
But what could hurt RCB is their net run rate of -0.323. A win against GT would take them to 16 points, but that may not be enough as they also need some favorable results.
Capitals Of Delhiwho is currently in fourth place can also get 16 points if they beat Mumbai Indians in their last match and they have a much better net run rate than RCB at +0.255.
With successive wins, RCB had the momentum to go their way but fell through after losing 54 points to Punjab Kings in their last game.
Virat KohlicThe mournful run continued as he took out just 20 in the final game, but the stage is set for the former India captain to play an impact to reverse his form and the fortunes of RCB.
Skipper Faf du Plessis, Mahipal Lomror and Dinesh Karthik would also be looking for a big hit after their bats have been quiet for the last few games.
Glenn Maxwell and Rajat Patidar started but failed to convert them into big scores.
On the bowling front, Harshal Patel and Wanindu Hasaranga were brilliant for RCB. In fact, when all the other bowlers were tackled by Punjab batters in their last game, the duo threw decent spells, taking four and two wickets respectively.
However, RCB would be concerned about the form of Josh Hazlewood and Mohammed Siraj as they leaked runs against Punjab.
But du Plessis would hope for one complete appearance from his side to keep RCB in the hunt.
GT on the other hand is the side to beat in this IPL. Even if they lose on Thursday, the team led by Hardik Pandya will finish on top, meaning it will have two chances to reach the final.
For GT, the team effort was the key to success in their first season.
GT’s batting department witnessed some inspiring performances from the likes of Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill, David Miller, Skipper Pandya and Rahul Tewatia.
The batting unit is superbly complemented by a deadly bowling attack led by veteran Mohammed Shami and features the likes of the young Yash Dayal, Lockie Fergusson and Alzarri Joseph.
GT’s spinning division is headed by none other than Afghan star Rashid Khan, who has received much-needed support from R Sai Kishore.
The teams (of):
Gujarat Titans: Hardik Pandya (c), Abhinav Manohar, David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh, B Sai Sudharsan, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Matthew Wade, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Wriddhiman Saha, Alzarri Joseph, Darshan Nalkande, Lockie Ferguson, Mohammed Shami, Noor Ahmad, Pradeep Sangwan, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Varun Aaron, Yash Dayal.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Faf du Plessis (c), Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Karthik, Josh Hazlewood, Shahbaz Ahmed, Anuj Rawat, Akash Deep, Mahipal Lomror, Finn Allen, Shelfane Rutherford, Jason Behrendorff, Suyash Prabhudesai, Chama Milind, Aneeshwar Gautam, Karn Sharma, David Willey, Rajat Patidar, Siddharth Kaul.
Match starts at 7:30 PM.
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