New Delhi: Pune's MCA International Stadium will host the Eliminator of the Indian Premier League 2015 between Royal Challenger's Bangalore (RCB) and Rajasthan Royals (RR). The winner of this match will face Chennai Super Kings in Ranchi for a place in the final against Mumbai Indians on May 24.
RCB ended their league stage campaign on 3rd spot with 16 points from 14 matches. On the other hand, RR were 4th with 16 points as well from 14 matches.
Virat Kohli's side were inconsistent throughout the tournament. While Steve Smith's boys were spectacular at the start, but went off the boil in the back end of the league.
There is hardly anything to choose from between the two sides as their head-to-head record in the IPL is locked at seven apiece.
This season, RCB won their first meeting and the second one was washed out.
In this do-or-die battle, both sides will expect their star players to stand up and be counted. Here are our picks of players bound to make a big difference in the Eliminator.
Mitchell Starc (RCB)
RCB has been a different team ever since Mitchell Starc joined their squad after having recovered from his injury. The Aussie seems to have carried his excellent World Cup form into the IPL this season. In 11 matches, the left-arm pacer has picked 18 wickets at an average of 13.44 and economy rate of 11.66. Starc has been brilliant at the top as well as during the death overs for his side. Virat Kohli will be hoping his premier fast bowler can get the better off RR's top-heavy batting side.
Ajinkya Rahane (RR)
Ajinkya Rahane has had an excellent outing in the 2015 edition of the IPL. The opener has provided solid starts to his team on most occasions, setting a platform for the big hitters to accelerate the scoring in the back end matches. In 13 matches, Rahane has scored 498 runs with 4 fifties at an average of 49.80 and a strike rate of 133.15. Along with Watson, he has been a major reason for RR making it past the league phase. Rahane will have to attack Starc to but the RCB bowling attack on the backfoot.
5 of RCB's 7 wins this season have come while batting second.
Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson have scored 482 runs from 8 innings as an opening pair this season