Royal Challengers Bangalore
$1.85 at William Hill
Table position: 6th
IPL form: L L W W L
$2.14 at Sportsbet.com.au
Table position: 2nd
IPL form: W L L L W
Despite their obvious star power, it’s been an indifferent 2016 Indian Premier League campaign for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
They’ve lost six of their first 10 matches, which leaves them sixth in the standings with only four games to go in the regular season.
As fifth-placed Mumbai Indians are already on 12 points, RCB must win each of their remaining fixtures to have a shot at the 2016 IPL playoffs.
There’s no denying they have the cattle to do it: Virat Kohli loves a scrap, Chris Gayle can ruin any bowling lineup on his day, and AB de Villiers and Shane Watson bring bags of experience and allround quality.
The concern is the lack of bowling depth, especially with Mitchell Starc and now Adam Milne forced to withdraw from the tournament through injury.
Nevertheless, Lokesh Rahul believes the Bengaluru franchise is hitting its stride and “peaking” at just the right time.
“The plans are clear, we need to win all our games,” the RCB wicketkeeper-batsman told reporters during the week.
“I honestly believe that the team is peaking – the batting has come together, we’re fielding well, we’re taking some good catches, the bowling is getting better and better with each game.
“We need to win four out of four. We’re going to go out there and play fearless cricket.”
Before they can even contemplate the idea of finals, RC Bangalore must first negotiate one of the competition’s title fancies.
Gujarat Lions have made a fair fist of their maiden IPL campaign so far, winning six of their first seven fixtures to rocket to the top of the table.
They veered off course with consecutive defeats to Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad, but last Sunday’s five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders steadied the ship to leave them level on points at the summit.
The Lions have benefitted significantly from the suspension of Chennai Super Kings, picking up the likes of Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Ravi Jadeja and their captain, Suresh Raina.
They also have Dale Steyn and the Aussie trio of Andrew Tye, James Faulkner and Aaron Finch, the latter of whom is batting in a new middle-order role after his return from injury.
Last Royal Challengers Bangalore XI
- Virat Kohli (captain)
- Chris Gayle
- AB de Villiers
- Lokesh Rahul
- Shane Watson
- Sachin Baby
- Stuart Binny
- Chris Jordan
- Sreenath Aravind
- Varun Aaron
- Yuzvendra Chahal
Last Gujarat Lions XI
- Brendon McCullum
- Dwayne Smith
- Suresh Raina (captain)
- Dinesh Karthik
- Aaron Finch
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Dwayne Bravo
- Praveen Kumar
- Dhawal Kulkarni
- Shivil Kaushik
- Pravin Tambe
Virat Kohli IPL betting markets
Picking up where he left off at the 2016 World Twenty20, Kohli has reached new heights despite RCB’s poor record this season.
The Indian superstar has racked up 568 runs in 10 innings, including four 50s and two 100s – his first centuries in T20 cricket.
He is, quite simply, the best limited-overs batsman on the planet.
But he’s also a fighter who thrives in desperate situations, which is exactly where Bangalore find themselves right now.
To score 50 – $2.66 (Sportsbet)
Top RCB batsman – $3 (CrownBet)
Top match batsman – $4 (Sportsbet)
Man of the match – $5 (Sportsbet)
Dwayne Bravo T20 bets
Ever a valuable commodity on the Twenty20 circuit, Bravo has left none of his quality behind in the switch from CSK.
The versatile Trinidadian leads the Lions’ bowling charts with 12 wickets at a 19.0 strike rate, which puts him among the competition’s most effective seamers.
He is also a handy contributor with his aggressive hitting in the lower order, while his prowess and agility in the field are second to none.
A big all-round performance from Bravo could be just what Gujarat need to see off RCB and keep the good times rolling.
Top Lions bowler – $4 (Bet365)
Man of the match – $9 (Bet365)
Top Lions batsman – $11 (Bet365)
Top match batsman – $36 (Sportsbet)
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