Returning to their home ground after nearly a month, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) step onto the turf under an ever-changing Bengaluru sky. Amidst the shifting political landscape, the cricketing scene remains as fervent as ever, with RCB locked in a heated battle for a playoff spot. Let’s examine the upcoming face-off against the Gujarat Titans (GT), set to take place on May 21, 2023.
Head to Head
So far, the clash between RCB and GT stands evenly poised with both teams holding a 1-1 record. Last season, Faf du Plessis-led RCB succeeded in a comfortable chase, making the upcoming duel all the more interesting.
A victory on home soil could position RCB ahead of the Rajasthan Royals, providing them with the opportunity to handle any potential Net Run Rate (NRR) situation that could arise, especially if the Mumbai Indians triumph significantly earlier the same day. Despite this seemingly simple calculation, it gets complicated with the GT, the current leaders and defending champions, showing remarkable form on the road (5 wins out of 6).
The Stadium Dynamics
The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium has faithfully rallied behind the home team, but T20 cricket here has never been a guaranteed win. With an equal tally of wins and losses (three each) this season at the venue, RCB faces a challenging task ahead. Interestingly, teams that bat first have emerged victorious in four out of the six games played here so far.
Probable XI and Player Watch
The probable team formation for RCB would likely include Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis (c), Anuj Rawat (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Michael Bracewell, Mahipal Lomror, Shahbaz Ahmed, Wayne Parnell, Harshal Patel, Karn Sharma, and Mohammed Siraj. However, the return of Wanindu Hasaranga could potentially alter the lineup.
For GT, the possible squad includes Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill, Sai Sudarshan/Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Joshua Little/Alzarri Joseph, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami, and Mohit Sharma.
While a rain forecast looms over the final league match, the newly implemented subsurface aeration at the stadium allows for quick resumption of play. The likelihood of a total washout is minimal.
Cricket isn’t just about statistics or predictions; it’s a sport full of surprising twists and turns. As the final league match of the IPL 2023 season approaches, fans eagerly anticipate a thrilling face-off. The stakes are high, the spirits higher, and the fans can’t wait to see the drama unfold.