Bangalore v Rajasthan: Strong on Samson, keen on Zampa

Adam Zampa
Adam Zampa should enjoy himself on UAE wickets

Sanju Samson is clearly in the form of his life so he's one to side with here while Australia's star spinner can go well also, says Jamie Pacheco...

"Three games have yielded scores of 74, 85 and 8. In those first two he was the team’s top scorer and man of the match to boot and looks like a man playing fearless but controlled cricket, if that makes any sense."

Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals
Saturday 3 October, 11:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Balance looks right at last

The Royal Challengers are now part of a foursome who have won two and lost one and it couldn't have been any tighter in terms of winning that second game.

Then again, it shouldn't have come to that. From a winning position, they allowed Mumbai's middle order to come within a six of claiming the spoils themselves. So they get a bit of black mark next to their name for leaking so many runs in those death overs but deserve credit for the way they handled themselves in the Super Over, conceding just seven and then being pretty pragmatic in their approach to chasing them. Tied after five balls and needing just a single off the last to win the Super Over, and the game. Which of course they did.

The axing of Josh Philippe and Dale Steyn for Isuru Udana and Adam Zampa looks the right move. Zampa went for a few last time out but is a high-quality spinner on wickets where he can cause damage and Udana gives them a good option at the start of the innings and can also hit a long ball.

It means AB de Villiers takes the gloves and they look a better all-round side for it. Who would have thought Bangalore would use common sense to pick their team? It could make them a side that we might start considering as somewhat dangerous.

Possible XI: Padikkal, Finch, Kohli, de Villiers, Dube, Singh, Udana, Sundar, Saini, Chahal, Zampa

Bowlers letting the side down

Rajasthan are another side on two wins from three and they'll be pretty happy with their work so far. It's worth remembering that they're currently missing arguably their best player in Ben Stokes.

In his absence players like Sanju Samson, Rahul Tewatia and Jofra Archer have really stood up to be counted but others haven't. The normally reliable S Gopal has been poor with the ball, taking just one wicket and going at over 10 an over and despite taking a decent three wickets, Tom Curran has been horrendously expensive, going at over 11 an over. He did however hit a superb 54 off 36 in vain with the bat last time out so the management are aware there's more than one string to his bow.

Tom Curran 956.jpg

They look a side better suited to chasing but until those bowlers stop leaking so many runs, they're going to send the whole tournament chasing more than they should have to.

Possible XI: Buttler, Smith, Samson, Uthappa, Parag, Tewatia, Gopal, Archer, Unadkat, Rajpoot

Leave the match winner market alone

Rajasthan are 10-8 ahead on head-to-head results over the years; there have been three no-results in there.

They have also won each of the last three between the two with one of those no-results coming last season.

So things are tight in the head-to-head and somewhat unsurprisingly in the match odds market as well, with Virat Kohli's side marginal favourites at 20/211.94.

I make them pretty similar in terms of ability, historical results, results this season and just about anything else so there isn't an obvious play on that market.

Samson to make it three from four?

I remember watching Sanju Samson for the first time years ago and thinking India had a real world-beater on their hands. He hasn't really kicked on at international level, playing just four T20Is and yet to make an ODI appearance but this could really be the season where he gives the Indian selectors something to think about.

Three games have yielded scores of 74, 85 and 8. In those first two he was the team's top scorer and man of the match to boot and looks like a man playing fearless but controlled cricket, if that makes any sense.

Batting at three, I don't think he has much to beat in terms of Rajasthan's middle order and you can't expect someone like Curran to keep playing those swashbuckling cameos so he may just have Smith and Buttler to beat.

Jos Buttler Rajasthan Royals.jpg

The former is a wonderful player of course but very new to his role of opening the batting. The latter is one of the very best T20 players in the world but may just need a couple of games to get used to these UAE pitches. In light of all that, 3/1 on Samson will do me just fine.

Zampa can cash in on Abu Dhabi wicket

Zampa had a tough debut for the Challengers, his four overs going for 53 runs with only the wicket of Hardik Pandya to show for his efforts. He really should have had two wickets because there was a careless drop in the outfield there and I'm sure he'll be a bit more dangerous now that he's had an outing on these slower wickets. This one here at Abu Dhabi should really suit him.

Udana was decent on his own debut in taking two but was also extremely expensive and you never know how many overs the likes of Sundar and Dube are going to bowl, it sort of depends on Kohli's mood.

The man to beat is of course the brilliant Yuzvendra Chahal but then again, he's just 5/2. I'm going with Zampa to find his groove at a far bigger 4/1 on a pitch that really should suit him.


Staked: 8pts
Returned: 4pts
P&L:-4 pt

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