Royal Challengers Bangalore hold edge in the battle of Rajasthan Royals

Born-again Royal Challengers Bangalore will have a clear edge over an injury-ravaged Rajasthan Royals when they locks horns in the third Indian Premier League here on Thursday.

The home side had a rather poor start to their IPL 3 campaign with a comprehensive seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders but Anil Kumble and his men showed tremendous resilience and batting prowess to tame Kings XI Punjab in Tuesday’s high-scoring humdinger to be back on track.

In contrast, the 2008 champion Royals have lost both their matches so far and losing Graeme Smith and Dmitri Mascarenhas has further depleted the Shane Warne-led outfit.

The hosts are on a high after chasing down a 200-plus total against Kings XI Punjab that not only boosted their confidence but also spoke volumes of their batting might.

Veteran South African Jacques Kallis has been a pillar of strength for them, contributing both with the bat and the ball.

The indefatigable all-rounder has been a tricky customer with the ball while his ability to pace his innings while batting stood his team in good stead.

Fortunately for them, Robin Uthappa also looks in great form, as is the exciting Manish Pandey.

If Bangalore have any real concern, it’s in their bowling department and Kumble would have to ensure that Dale Steyns and Praveen Kumars don’t bleed runs against the Royals on Thursday.

The Royals’ story so far has been pretty demoralising with back-to-back defeats followed by injuries to some of its key players.

They began IPL 3 sans Shane Watson — busy on national duty — and Ravindra Jadeja, serving a ban, and losing Smith and Mascarenhas now further depletes them.

“It’s a big setback for us as Smith and Dimma are very good players for the Royals and their experience will be hugely missed,” Warne conceded.

“With these setbacks comes opportunity. We need some players to put there hand up and take responsibility,” he said.

Warne’s optimism notwithstanding, Royals would have a tough task on Thursday.

Their batting is not clicking and while Yusuf Pathan’s aggression remains beyond question, inconsistency remains a problem with the towering power-hitter.

After defeats against Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils, the Royals are pretty much low on spirit and they would have to raise their game by a few notches to upstage their opponents from Bangalore on Thursday.

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