Bengaluru: With two of their last matches witnessing a horrific batting show in Kolkata and a wash-out due to rain at home, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will hope for a turnaround when they face a struggling Gujarat Lions (GL) here on Thursday.
Pursuing Kolkata Knight Riders' lowly total of 131 on Sunday, RCB, boasting the star troika of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle, were floored for 49 all out in 9.4 overs -- IPL's lowest ever total, and lost the match by 82 runs at the Eden Gardens.
This was followed by a rain-enforced abadonement of the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. It meant that RCB, sitting at the sixth spot with five points, will now have to win most of their remaining matches in order to stay in the hunt for the knock-outs.
This will be the golden opportunity for the hosts to take two crucial points as bottom-placed Gujarat too have been in a poor run so far in the cash-rich Twenty20 cricket tournament. Out of seven matches, Gujarat have managed to win only two.
Comprising star-studded batting line-up, Bangalore will have an upper hand in the fixture. The home batsmen will be on their guard against Gujarat's bowlers, though the visitors lack experience and class in that department.
But in order to tame the visitors, RCB bowlers Samuel Badree, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sreenath Aravind, Tymal Mills and Adam Milne will need to raise their game.
Gujarat, on the other hand, will be banking on their Australian pacer Andrew Tye, who has taken nine wickets in four games, including a hat-trick, at a decent economy rate of 8.00. Kerala youngster Basil Thampi's ability to bowl yorkers at will has been an advantage for the Gujarat side.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is yet to fire, having taken only one wicket in the five matches so far, while veteran Praveen Kumar's lack of pace and swing has meant he has been hit at an economy rate of 10.32 over five games.
It would also be interesting to see if Irfan Pathan, who was roped in as a replacement for injured all-rounder Dwayne Bravo would be included in the playing XI.
The only positive for the Gujarat outfit is the former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum with 264 runs and Suresh Raina with 272 runs are among the top five run-getters in the tournament so far.