IPL 2020Oct, 30, 2020
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IPL 2020: RCB cannot afford to make any mistake against Rajasthan tomorrow
RCB and RR both look to bounce back from their respective defeats in the previous games when they lock horns on Saturday
Both Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore were disappointing in their previous matches, RCB perhaps even more so, losing to bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab primarily through some strange tactics.
Keeping AB de Villiers away from being in the middle only to have a left-right combination going against Punjab's spinners was taking half-decent cricket logic to a bizarre extent.
If the T20 format's best batsman has to be shielded, those being sent ahead of him, whether left-handed or right, would need even greater protection.
It was a misconstrued gambit which flopped. By the time De Villiers came in to bat, only four overs were remaining, RCB did not have enough runs on the board, and he had to throw his bat at everything from the word go.
This was a pitch which needed some deliveries for a batsman to settle in. RCB's score got some heft thanks to Chris Morris messing up Mohammed Shami's last over, but it is moot whether they wouldn't have got 12-15 runs more had De Villiers batted in his usual position.
Ultimately, the nervous Kings XI Punjab won only in the final delivery.
Rajasthan Royals too messed up their run chase against Delhi Capitals after getting into a strong position. Ben Stokes played a decent hand, but like Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Robin Uthappa, could not extend his innings into a match-winning one.
This has been Rajasthan Royals' biggest drawback - the failure of the most seasoned players to rise to the occasion. They've been twice bailed out by Rahul Tewatia's lusty late order pyrotechnics, but this can't be expected every time.
In the earlier encounter this season RCB beat RR comprehensively by eight wickets. Unless RR's big guns fire, RCB may not be unduly troubled. But for a place in the playoffs, Kohli and Co have more at stake on Saturday and can ill afford another mess up.
Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and columnist