- If RCB lose this encounter against RPS, then it will be all over for Kohli and his Men in Red.
- However, if they can manage to win this match, they will climb to the 5th spot in the points table.
It is now or never for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as they face a must-win game against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Saturday evening. By no means Virat Kohli and co. can afford to lose this encounter or else it will be all over for the runners up of IPL 2016.
Luck has not been on RCB's side in this edition of the IPL as they have managed to win just 2 out of the 9 matches. Their star-studded batting lineup has failed to impress and that has hurt them big time in IPL 2017. Captain Kohli had mentioned that the boys lack intent and as a result they are pressurising themselves, which is not helping their cause.
RCB did it last year and they would want to do it yet again. But it is going to be a seriously tough journey from here on as Kohli and co. will have to win all the remaining five matches to ensure they have 15 points next to their team name in points table. In that case, other teams will also have to lose in order to aid to RCB's qualifying cause.
Meanwhile, Steve Smith's RPS are coming into this fixture on the back of a thumping defeat in the hands of the table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). RPS is sitting pretty in the 4th spot in the points table and a win against RCB will ensure two more points for them.
But that is not going to be easy. RCB have never lost a game in this venue with four out of four wins, they have the statistics by their side. But statistics does not win you games, it is the players who will have to step up to the occasion to pull off a victory.
Smith might just be tempted to play Usman Khawaja at the top of the order and rest Faf du Plessis. Dan Cristian in that case might make way for Ben Stokes, who was rested for the last game.
RCB, on the other hand, may drop Chris Gayle and bring back Shane Watson back into the playing XI. Rest of the teams are likely to remain the same for both sides.
Rising Pune Supergiant: Rahul Tripathi, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Faf du Plessis/Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Imran Tahir.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Mandeep Singh, Pawan Negi, Samuel Badree, Tymal Mills, Sreenath Aravind, Aniket Choudhary, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:03 PM IST