Two teams with contrasting fortunes so far in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 will face off on Thursday when Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. RCB are the only team yet to be beaten this season and are second in the table, behind Chennai Super Kings only on Net Run Rate, having played a game less than the MS Dhoni-led side. The Royals have suffered two defeats in three matches and are seventh in the league. They are also without the injured Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer.
However, it will be RCB’s first game at the Wankhede this season, while the Royals will be used to the condition, having played all their games there so far.
Here are some of the key players for RCB:
AB de Villiers
On a slow Chennai pitch, where teams were suffering collapses and finding it difficult to bat, AB de Villiers put on an inspired display as he smashed 76 off just 34 deliveries against Kolkata Knight Riders.
He was also fluent in RCB’s opening win against Mumbai Indians. Moving to Mumbai, where the pitches seem to be slightly more batting-friendly, and playing the team against who he scored a match-winning half-century last season, AB de Villiers will be fancying his chances of continuing his fine form.
Glenn Maxwell had not scored a half-century in the IPL since 2016 up until last season. This year, he has two in three matches. Skipper Virat Kohli said Maxwell has “taken to RCB like duck to water”, and it certainly seems that way.
Maxwell will want to carry on from his back-to-back fifties, which see him in the second position in the race for the Orange Cap this season.
Harshal Patel has emerged as RCB’s death overs specialist this season, but in Mumbai, Mohammed Siraj may be a deciding influence on the match. CSK pacer Deepak Chahar‘s four-wicket haul against the same opposition will have Siraj licking his lips.
If there is swing on offer with the new ball like there was for Chahar, Siraj can wreak havoc in the batting powerplay.
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