Two matchdays to go in IPL 2022, and three teams remain. The Gujarat Titans have already booked a spot in the final after winning the first qualifier against the Rajasthan Royals, who by virtue of finishing second on the table have another shot at the final in the second qualifier.
They’ll face Royal Challengers Bangalore, the winners of the Eliminator match on Wednesday, whose bowling unit delivered when it mattered most against the Lucknow Super Giants.
It was their supreme batting effort, led by Rajat Patidar, that put Royal Challengers in a winning position in the first place, though, and that might not be as easy to do against Rajasthan, whose bowling attack is arguably more well rounded than that of the Super Giants.
The winner on Friday makes the final, and we expect this to be a high-intensity game that swings both ways through its course before we have a definitive winner.
Odds as of May 26 at Betway
This marks the third season in a row that the Royal Challengers Bangalore have made it to the playoffs stage and their eighth time overall. Their infamous past, of course, involves no success from this position onward; they’ve been in the final three times and lost all of them.
There is a good case to say that this team – with its bowling resources in particular – is the strongest and most balanced one to make it to the playoffs for them so far, and that makes them slight favorites for this fixture in our books.
The probability of players like Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell to come good on any given evening is generally pretty high and to think that they’ve been managing to get by without all of them coming good together is a testament to the squad they’ve built up.
Player confidence is made or destroyed in the closing stages of both innings, and RCB goes into the second qualifier having bossed that phase in both their batting and bowling innings against the Super Giants.
A lot of Rajasthan’s success has been built around the individual contributions of Jos Buttler with the bat and Yuzvendra Chahal with the ball.
That isn’t to say others haven’t stepped up. The all-round contributions from this team, be it Ashwin with both bat and ball, Devdutt Padikkal in a new middle-order role, or Obed McCoy’s little flashes of brilliance in the last game, cannot be understated.
Like Royal Challengers, the Rajasthan Royals have a good claim if they say this is one of their most well-compiled squads in a long, long time.
Their only potential vulnerability lies in the band between No. 6 and No. 7, the domain of specialist T20 all-rounders; on the batting side, that part of their team could appear very thin if a few early wickets fall. On the other side of it, there is a conspicuous lack of a backup bowling option.
In short, how they compete in the second qualifier against the Royal Challengers will come down to how well their sure performers can execute their roles once again.
Buttler will have to be front and center with the bat once more, as an innings without too much of his influence will put a heavy strain on the Rajasthan batting. As a bowling unit, they look every bit as good as Royal Challengers.
We’ve mentioned earlier that the kind of performances Royal Challengers managed to put up in the back ends of both their batting and bowling innings will have completely changed the outlook of all the players who are expected to be involved in those phases.
Only one of their big three batsmen needs to come good on Friday because the supporting players in the lower order have proven themselves more than capable of holding their own as Dinesh Karthik goes berserk around them.
We think they will be strong favorites to win this and make it to the final; from there, though, it’s anyone’s guess. Teams don’t normally win three playoff games in a row.
For the kinds of odds that Betway is offering on three bowlers who have been among the most influential in the season – Hasaranga and Chahal are literally fighting it out for the top wicket-takers cap – this is a no-brainer.
These names have the perfect combination of skill, form and bowling situations for them to all be reasonable shouts to pick up wickets.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have had phenomenal teams over the years but have failed to deliver on the big stage and are yet to win an IPL championship. It would not be an overstatement to call RCB the pride and sorrow of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Year after year, RCB have turned out some of the strongest squads around the world igniting the hopes of millions of their fans. Sadly, all those teams have failed to seize the opportune moments resulting in heartbreak for fans all over again.
RCB holds the record of scoring the highest (263-5) as well as the lowest (49 all-out) scores of the tournament.
Of the 14 times IPL has been played, RCB has managed to reach the playoffs half the time (7), including three appearances in the finals. However, the team’s search for the elusive title persists.
Due to their unpredictable nature, bookmakers usually offer odds of around 6.50-7.50 against RCB and the same holds good for this IPL season. IPL betting sites are offering RCB the odds of 8.50 to win IPL 2022.
Are the odds justified? Well, given RCB’s record, the answer is both yes and no. The IPL 2022 was preceded by a mega auction meaning RCB could retain a maximum of four players. They retained only three.
Among them, talismanic batsman Virat Kohli, who has been with the team since its inception, decided to quit its captaincy after nine years at the helm.
The current squad has now witnessed a massive change and it can go either way. The newly introduced league format will also play an important role in deciding how the teams would fare en route to the playoffs.
However, with some other teams looking much stronger than RCB right now, it can be a somewhat safe bet to say that RCB is not an obvious frontrunner for the 2022 IPL title.
We predict that the Royal Challengers Bangalore will reach the playoffs for a third year in a row this time.
However, it might still have to wait for its first-ever IPL trophy. Their biggest challenge would be their derby rivals Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad with KKR all set to play old foes again.
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Among all the things RCB makes headlines for, its squad is a permanent factor. The franchise is infamous for drafting some very good individual players into its midst only to miss out on creating a balanced playing eleven.
The Gayle-Kohli-ABD era is testimony to that. Well, Chris Gayle had already left for Punjab Kings a couple of years back and AB De Villiers bid his farewell to the game.
With Virat Kohli giving up the captaincy, it was time RCB management looked towards a new squad. Before the auction, RCB only retained Kohli, Australian ‘Big Show’ Glenn Maxwell, and fiery Indian pacer Mohammad Siraj.
Proven performers who were released include long-term spin wizard Yujvendra Chahal, young opener Devdutt Paddikal, and reliable all-rounder Washington Sundar. Harshal Patel, the purple cap (most wickets) winner of last season, was also let go but he was bought back.
In the IPL auction, RCB bid for a lot of players managing to acquire the services of several new players including Faf Du Plessis, Josh Hazlewood, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Dinesh Karthik.
The pace bowling department will be led by Siraj in tandem with Patel and Hazlewood, while Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, and Maxwell will look to spin the matches in RCB’s favor.
Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Anuj Rawat, Dinesh Karthik, Shahbaz Ahmed, Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Josh Hazlewood, Mohammed Siraj, Akash Deep, Suyash Prabhudesai, Luvnith Sisodia, Aneeshwar Gautam, Jason Behrendorff, Karn Sharma, David Willey, Siddarth Kaul, Chama Milind, Mahipal Lomror, Sherfane Rutherford, Finn Allen.
One can never be too sure with RCB but this side looks pretty balanced on paper. There are some major chinks in its armor as well like the lack of an experienced Indian spinner or the absence of a pinch hitter down the order.
With three top candidates, each of them have the ability to blow away entire opposition bowling units by themselves. This one is going to be a hard call. Du Plessis was the second-highest run-scorer of IPL 2021 missing out the top spot to fellow CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad by a mere 2 runs.
Maxwell was in red-hot form last year scoring 513 runs and finishing fifth in the race to the orange cap. Kohli, arguably the best batsman in the world, is going through somewhat of a lean patch and will be keen to announce his return in style.
It is safe to assume that one of these three batsmen will top score for RCB this year.
RCB spent big money to buy back Harshal Patel, their current purple cap holder, in the mega auction.? Harshal Patel picked a record 32 wickets in the last season of the IPL, the joint-highest in IPL history.
All eyes will surely be on him to do an encore. Mohammad Siraj could be another strong contender with his knack for early breakthroughs in the powerplay.
Virat Kohli is the one to watch out for as always. King Kohli is hungry for runs and we know it. Relieved from captaincy duties all around, we might get to see the Virat Kohli we had grown accustomed to.
If Finn Allen manages to find a regular place in the side, this Kiwi wicketkeeper-batsman can be a potential game-changer.
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