Rajasthan Royals v Royal Challengers Bangalore: Samson going strong

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson is currently the IPL's second highest runscorer.

In a game with little appeal on the match winner market, it's the Royals skipper who stands out to deliver with the bat once again, says Jamie Pacheco.

"3/1 is a really good price about a player (Sansom) who ticks all the boxes: excellent form for the whole of the IPL, superb recent form, bats in a nice position at number three, can go big when he needs to."

Royals need to get selection right

Rajasthan got those two wins on the board after the restart to give themselves a shot at the Playoffs. But both of them were pretty fortunate. Especially of course, that one against the Punjab Kings.

That a load of games have been played in the meanwhile and that I'm still talking about is testament to just what a meltdown by the Kings it was.

But RR came back down to earth against the Sunrisers, of all teams. The side who was glued to the bottom of the table restricted them to a par total and a fine, aggressive innings by Jason Roy and a masterclass in getting over the line by Kane Williamson meant the Royals had their momentum stopped.

There's been a lot of chopping and changing as regards the overseas players recently. The likes of Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi, David Miller and Evin Lewis are in one game, out the next.

Either they're focussing too much on conditions or they're not the slightest bit sure which two should join Mustafizur Rahman and Liam Livingstone as the other two overseas players and are just experimenting and hoping for the best.

If it were me, I'd go with a champion spinner in Shamsi (he is after all the number 1 ranked bowler in T20Is) and a world-class opener in Lewis.

Sanju Samson continues to set the standard with the bat. His 82 off 57 was an outstanding knock but just not quite enough on the day.

Likely XI: Lewis, Jaiswal, Samson, Livingstone, Lomror, Parag, Tewatia, Unadkat, Shamsi, Sakariya, Rahman.

RCB have some breathing space

An excellent win against Mumbai on Sunday has given RCB some serious breathing space.

Rather than a load of teams now being cluttered together around the 10-point mark, it means RCB are four clear in third place. That will allow them to relax knowing they're virtually guaranteed a Top 4 finish as long as they win just one of their last four.

But they'll be looking to do better than that. A win here and they'll be looking to challenge the Top 2 and having two bites at making the final.

That win over Mumbai owed much to three men. Virat Kohli was back in form with a well-measured 51 off 42, Glenn Maxwell was at his daring and innovative best with his 56 off 37 containing all manner of reverse sweeps and outrageous flicks and then there was Harshal Patel.

Kohli (2) - 1280.jpg

His 17 deliveries went for just 17 runs and yielded four wickets including a hat-trick. 'Harshal' in the extreme that he missed out on the man-of-the-match award to Maxwell.

AB de Villiers has been quiet since the resumption with scores of 0, 12 and 11. A bit unlucky or are his best days well behind him?

Possible XI Padikkal, Kohli, Bharat, Maxwell, de Villiers, Christian, Ahmed, Jamieson, Patel, Siraj, Chahal.

Pitch report

The last four first-innings scores at Dubai read: 185, 134, 165 and 164.

That's a first-innings average of 162. Two were won by the side batting first, two by the chasing side.

Obvious as it may sound, the pitch has been known to get a little slower as the game progresses but with no-one really knowing what a par score is, perhaps the easiest thing to do is to chase, where you at least know what you need to do.

Not much of interest in winner market

The Royals are 2.35/4 and that looks about right.

They've been somewhat inconsistent in terms of selection and in terms of performances, and results, too.

The head-to-head between them reads 11-10 in favour of RCB. No surprises there. Over the years and bar that first-ever edition of the IPL that Rajasthan won, these have been two of the bigger strugglers in the league so it's understandable that things are pretty even between them.

Mind you, Bangalore couldn't have been any more comprehensive in beating them back in April. Chasing what looked like a competitive total of 178, RCB chased it without losing a wicket. Padikkal made 101 not out, Kohli got an unbeaten 72. A chase really doesn't get an easier than that.

So RCB are the most likely winners, all things considered, but that's not a price you'd want to get involved with.

Samson going strong

Talk about consistency. Here are Sanju Samson's last scores in the IPL: 42 not out, 42, 48, 4, 70 not out and 82. No wonder he's second on the runscorer charts at the time of writing.

Unsurprisingly, those last two scores allowed him to top score for the Royals on both occasions.

If you wanted to be really critical, you could argue that those 40-odds should have been converted into bigger scores given he clearly got starts and had played himself in.

But let's rather appreciate that thanks to a price boost, 3/1 is a really good one about a player who ticks all the boxes: excellent form for the whole of the IPL, superb recent form, bats in a nice position at number three, can go big when he needs to.

Evin Lewis at 3/1 will probably be worthy of some interest and Liam Livingstone (also 3/1) will win a few of these over the next few years. But who would you rather be on at that same price? The IPL veteran who's faced all these bowlers dozens of times before and a few times on this very wicket or two IPL newbies? Exactly.

Maxi can go well again

Virat Kohli has also had his price boosted to 11/4 from 23/10. He did look in great touch that last game before getting out to a mistimed shot.


But if I was playing this market, I'd prefer Glenn Maxwell at the far-bigger 9/2.

It was after all Maxwell who top-scored last time for them and who has the most runs of anyone this season for the Royal Challengers.

The negative with him however is that he may only come in at four with Bharat sometimes coming in at three. Given Kohli and Padikkal tend to hang around for a bit and Maxwell may just be coming in a bit late. Although of course that's all factored into the price.

AB de Villiers is one to avoid given his batting position at five and the fact he's out of nick. But it's a short-looking 16/5 if you fancy it.


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Returned: 14.46 pts
P/L: -3.54 pts

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