Rajasthan Royals host Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first of two Indian Premier League (IPL) games on Monday. Bangalore are second in the league and trail leaders Chennai Super Kings by two points. The Royals, meanwhile, are a further two points adrift of Bangalore but have a game in hand over the top two. The reverse game at Bangalore was a seven wicket win for the Challengers.
Where to Watch Live
Play starts at 11.30am BST. Live coverage is on ITV 4 and ITV 4 HD. Follow the match live, via text updates, on ESPN Cricinfo.
The Royals beat IPL debutants Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in their last match. The inaugural champions have been in excellent form so far this season and have won five of eight games to date; they've won all four home games and that includes a massive 87-run win over pre-tournament favourites Mumbai Indians.
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has been a key player in recent games, scoring an unbeaten 98 off 53 balls to beat Hyderabad. He also authored a brilliant 101 off 61 balls in Chennai, to help the Royals post 185/4 but the Super Kings' batting responded in style to deny them the win.
Watson's contributions with the ball have been improving as well and that is a good sign for Rahul Dravid's Royals; he picked up 2/11 off two overs at Bangalore and conceded only 16 from another two against Hyderabad.
India youngster Ashok Chandila and Australian James Faulkner have taken wickets and restricted scoring, more often than not, giving the Royals' a surprisingly formidable bowling attack. Chandila's 2/13 and Faulkner's amazing 5/20, both against Hyderabad, will worry Bangalore captain Virat Kohli.
Much of the attention when the Bangalore batsmen take to the field at Jaipur will be on West Indian Chris Gayle. The hard-hitting left-hander smashed himself into Twenty20 record books last week, with a 67-ball 175 against Pune Warriors. However, he failed to re-create that brutal innings in Bangalore's last match. The Royal Challengers come to northern India after a 58-run defeat at Mumbai.
Bangalore were completely outplayed in that game, with Dwayne Smith (50 off 36 balls), Dinesh Karthik (43 off 33 balls) and Kieron Pollard (34 off 16 balls) leading the home side to 194/7. Gayle's early dismissal, for 18 off 20 balls, led to Bangalore's capitulation, with tail-enders Ravi Rampaul and R Vinay Kumar the highest scorers.
Bangalore, like Chennai Super Kings, tend to rely on an explosive batting line-up. If Gayle doesn't get the runs, then Kohli or South African AB de Villiers usually delivers. And that could be a problem for them, as Mumbai demonstrated. If the top order is rattled, then there really isn't a middle-order that can take sustained pressure.
- Last Five (most recent first): W L L W W
- Last Match: Rajasthan Royals beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets
Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Last Five (most recent first): L W W W L
- Last Match: Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 58 runs