Riding high after their crushing victory over Kings XI Punjab, defending champions Rajasthan Royals will be gunning for revenge against Bangalore Royal Challengers in what promises to be a cracker of an Indian Premier League (IPL) contest on Thursday.
In their first meeting, Royal Challengers defeated Rajasthan Royals by a huge 75-run margin.
Since then, both teams have followed the same course – losing matches at the start before bouncing back in the tournament.
Rajasthan Royals have nine points, one more than Bangalore Royal Challengers who have eight.
With a depleted side, Rajasthan Royals lost matches at the start and looked like a pale shadow of the formidable team that won the opening IPL championship last year.
Royals captain Shane Warne’s inspirational leadership helped them bounce back as his clever fine-tunning with the team has paid rich dividends.
Warne brought Naman Ojha to open the batting with Graeme Smith in the last match and it resulted in Royals’ top-order firing for the first time in the tournament.
Smith and Ojha dominated Kings XI bowlers right from the start and scored the tournament’s highest total of 211.
It augurs well for Royals who so far have been relying heavily on Yusuf Pathan in batting.
After losing Kamran Khan to a suspect action, Royals discovered a new pacer in Amit Singh, who took three Kings XI wickets in his debut match.
Royal Challengers are on a roll with three wins on a trot. A new skipper in Anil Kumble has moulded the team into a winning bunch.
Their last victory against Mumbai Indians saw Jacques Kallis and Robin Uthappa return to form.
Kallis and Uthappa hit blazing half-centuries as Bangalore registered a resounding nine-wicket victory against Mumbai Indians.
They unearthed a useful South African swing bowler in Dillon du Preez who took three Mumbai wickets to restrict the strong batting line-up to 149.
Royal Challengers have the advantage of many South Africans in their ranks. In the last match, all their overseas players — Kallis, Mark Boucher, Preez and Roelof van der Merwe – were South Africans which helped them to assess the local conditions better than any other team.