IPL 2019: Battle 'Royal' at the bottom as Rajasthan and Bangalore look to reignite their campaigns

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Steve Smith has struggled for Rajasthan. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

It has been a 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) to forget so far for both Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore but the two teams will have a chance to lift themselves off the bottom when they meet in Jaipur on Tuesday.

It’s far from being a ‘royal’ affair for the two teams having both tasted three defeats from as many matches in their respective campaigns so far.

MISFIRING BUTTLER, EXPENSIVE UNADKAT HIGHLIGHT RAJASTHAN WOES

Rajasthan started their campaign in electric fashion and were on course to blow away Kings XI Punjab before the wheels came off in spectacular fashion following the ‘Mankad’ dismissal of Jos Buttler.

Since then, Buttler has been dismissed cheaply in both matches and the Englishman’s loss of form has only compounded the problems for Rajasthan. Despite the presence of several overseas stars, it is Buttler on whom Rajasthan’s batting primarily depends and he will need to get firing on all cylinders again if the franchise is to reignite their flailing campaign.

At the other end, Jaydev Unadkat continues to be extremely expensive with the ball once again with the left-armed seamer going at over 12 runs an over so far in his three appearances. The most expensive Indian player to be purchased in two IPL auctions running now, Unadkat’s struggles to contain the flow of runs has hampered Rajasthan big time in their three losses.

Minute margins have cost Ajinkya Rahane and his men in each of the three losses and they could very well have been perched at the top of the table if small details had gone their way.

SAME OLD BANGALORE

While both teams are yet to open their accounts in the tournament, it is Bangalore who are arguably worse off with Virat Kohli’s men being comprehensively swept aside in two of their three losses.

It has been a campaign all too familiar for Royal Challengers fans with the star-studded line up once again coming up a cropper. Bowled out for just 70 runs in the loss to Chennai Super Kings, Bangalore were on course to register another total below 100 after they were reduced to 35-6 by Sunrisers Hyderabad.

While they did manage to avoid that ignominy, Kohli’s men are repeating the familiar script. The Bangalore skipper has looked good in flashes and so has AB de Villiers but the consistency required to win matches continues to elude the team.

West Indies dasher Shimron Hetmyer has failed to come to the party so far while Moeen Ali has punched way below expectations. Getting the big stars to work together as a unit has defined the lack of Bangalore’s success in IPL history and they will need to quickly devise the right formula before time runs out for them in the 2019 edition.

TEAM NEWS

With the ODI series between Pakistan and Australia drawing to a close in the UAE, both teams are set to be bolstered for Tuesday’s clash.

For Rajasthan, big-hitting all-rounder Ashton Turner will provide some much needed boost in the batting department.

Meanwhile, Bangalore will be glad to welcome the duo of Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Coulter-Nile. The former’s return will be welcome addition given his all-round abilities and he could replace Colin de Grandhomme in the playing XI.

LIKELY XIs

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Ashton Turner, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kuklarni, Jaydev Unadkat.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), Moeen Ali, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Marcus Stoinis, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.

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