Jaipur: Their play-off hopes dented by two consecutive defeats, Rajasthan Royals need to do something special to tame a rampaging Chris Gayle as they prepare to clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore in their next IPL match.
Both the teams have consistently been in the reckoning for the play-offs but the scale of task is now enormous for Rajasthan, which lost to Chennai Super Kings last night.
Bangalore on the hand are on a roll, having registered five wins on the trot with Caribbean batsman Gayle playing a significant role in their success.
Gayle destroys the rival bowling attack with utter disdain and leaves the opponents in disbelief with his power-hitting.
Rajasthan are already struggling and sorting out Gayle is the biggest challenge they face on Wednesday.
But their bowlers conceded close to 200 runs on Monday against Chennai on the new pitch and the contempt with which Gayle is treating the bowlers this season, the host bowlers are in for another litmus test.
Skipper Shane Warne, who has earned plaudits for his on-field acumen, needs to take it on himself to stop Gayle from blowing them away because if the West Indies marauder manages to stay at the crease for about 10 overs, the contest could be reduced to a lop-sided affair.
Gayle tilted the last match against Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the favour of his side by smashing 37 runs in just one over and the predator would be looking to hunt badly bruised Ashok Menaria, Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi, who all bled runs against Chennai.
Not only Gayle but the other Bangalore batsmen such asVirat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary are in good touch and are capable match-winners on their own.
It will be interesting to see who replaces Tillakaratane Dilshan, who has left IPL to be with the Sri Lankan national team, in the opening slot.
The absence of big-hitting Dilshan is a relief for the hosts and if they succeed in getting Gayle out early, that will be like half the battle won.
Batting is another headache for Rajasthan as they have not put enough runs on the board of late.
They badly need Shane Watson to fire and Ajinkya Rahane to continue the good work since their middle-order, aside from Kiwi Ross Taylor, hardly boasts any big-hitter who can take on the rival attack.
The job becomes tough with Bangalore having a cunning Zaheer Khan and wily Daniel Vettori in their ranks.
Rajasthan cannot afford a defeat now since that result will almost finish their chances in the play-off race. Placed fifth in the table, they have 11 points from as many matches while Bangalore are third with 13 points from nine games.
It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season, since their first match was washed out due to rain.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne (C), Swapnil Asnodkar, Stuart Binny, Johan Botha, Deepak Chahar, Ankeet Chavan, Aakash Chopra, Aditya Dole, Nayan Doshi, Rahul Dravid, Samad Fallah, Faiz Fazal, Ashok Menaria, Sumit Narwal, Jacob Oram, Pankaj Singh, Amit Paunikar, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Raut, Dinesh Salunkhe, Pinal Shah, Amit Singh, Shaun Tait, Ross Taylor, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson and Dishant Harendra Yagnik.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Daniel Vettori (C), Mayank Agarwal, Sreenath Aravind, Arun Karthik, BN Bharath, Raju Bhatkal, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Nuwan Pradeep, Muralidharen Gautam, Chris Gayle, Mohammad Kaif, Abrar Kazi, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Charl Langeveldt, Abhimanyu Mithun,
Ryan Ninan, Asad Pathan, Luke Pomersbach, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rilee Rossouw, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Saurabh Tiwary, Johan van der Wath, Jonathan Vandiar.