Cricket Indian Premier League Prediction
Royal Challengers vs Gujarat Titans - Match Preview
🏏 21 May 2023 - 18:00 GMT +0
The fate of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is almost entirely back in their own hands after an exquisite run chase against Sunrisers Hyderabad returned them to fourth place in the standings heading into the final round of games. Boasting a superior Net Run Rate (NRR) to every team below them prior to Friday’s fixture, RCB will go into this final game of the league stage knowing what they need to achieve - if anything at all - to keep the fourth place.
They’ll be hoping that the Mumbai Indians have made their jobs easier by losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the afternoon, though even an enormous win for Mumbai probably wouldn’t be enough to come up with a better NRR than that of RCB (+0.18). Having to defeat Gujarat Titans just to get through to the playoffs is not an ideal scenario for any team in this competition, though RCB should feel they have what is required, having won three of their four games as underdogs this year as well as one of their two clashes with Gujarat in 2022.
Their win against Sunrisers to keep their chances alive was a textbook RCB win: a dominant opening partnership from Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis, who were two of the tournament’s top four run-scorers going into the final round of games, and a powerplay squeeze from Mohammed Siraj (nine powerplay wickets at 6.07rpo) followed by some miserly spin from Michael Bracewell. RCB have had mixed results at home this season (W3, L3), losing to Chennai but defeating both Mumbai and Rajasthan, which makes this game tough to predict.
It’s going to be a galactic battle between two of the best powerplay teams in the competition, with Mohammed Shami (15 powerplay wickets at 6.80rpo) almost single-handedly giving Gujarat excellent starts with the ball time after time. Shami averages 45 with the ball against Faf du Plessis in T20s but just 18 against Virat Kohli, so there’ll be no doubting which batter he’d rather take on in this instance!
Defending champions Gujarat will finish this league stage as the only team with at least nine league stage wins irrespective of what happens here, and with the IPL having already booked the coliseum-like Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad for 2023 final, they’re in the box seat to go back-to-back in front of their own fans. First, they have to get past a hostile Bengaluru crowd and continue restoring some of the momentum when they too defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last outing.
Gujarat have been stronger away from home than in Ahmedabad, conquering five of their six away trips including four successful run chases from five attempts. Only Mumbai was able to rack up more than 180 runs against the Titans in any of those six games, reinforcing the difficulties that RCB are going to face against the most deadly (7.62 wickets per innings) and economical (8.28rpo) attack in the league. Knowing how dependent RCB are on their top three, Gujarat has every right to feel as though they’ll be unstoppable if they can take a couple of wickets early.
📋 Players to watch: Even prior to rediscovering his vintage best in his last outing, Virat Kohli was already the most dominant figure in this brief head-to-head matchup. He top-scored with 58 and 73 in both H2Hs last year.
Gujarat captain Hardik Pandya started four IPL innings in Bengaluru for just one dismissal, racking up 107 runs from 11 overs faced along the way. Hardik may not fancy his chances of bowling at Kohli, however, carrying career H2H figures of 1/55 into this match.
⚡ Stat attack: Gujarat hit the most sixes of a match just three times in 2023.
- RCB have posted the most powerplay runs in ten of their 13 games this year.
- The average first-innings score at the Chinnaswamy this year is 195, with four of its six games won by batting first.
- Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli have accumulated four half-centuries each in Bengaluru this year, whilst Glenn Maxwell has three.
- Maxwell averages 83 against the bowling of Rashid Khan in T20s, albeit at a scoring rate of just 6.92rpo.
- Mohammed Siraj has taken wickets in all six home games this year.
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