Big Picture: Make or break for RCB
It all boils down to the final four hours. After 69 games across 52 days, the last league match will decide the identity of the fourth team in the playoffs.
So what’s going well for RCB? They are coming into this crucial fixture off two successive wins – against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals. Their strength is their batting, having scored more than 180 in three of their last four games. More specifically, it is their top-order batting, with Faf du Plessis (702), Virat Kohli (538) and Glenn Maxwell (389) doing the bulk of the run-scoring. The dependency on their Big Three could be a crucial factor in a crunch game.
Winning at the Chinnaswamy also hasn’t been straightforward for RCB this season. While several teams have struggled to maximise their home advantage, it’s 3-3 for RCB in Bengaluru this year, and 40 wins in 83 games overall.
So while RCB have everything to do to qualify for the playoffs, the Titans are already through. Hardik Pandya’s team is only the second side to finish top of the table in two successive seasons, after the Mumbai Indians in 2019 and 2020.
Team news: Will Titans rest players?
Du Plessis said at the toss of their previous game against Sunrisers that one of Hasaranga and Hazlewood was missing due to a niggle without specifying who it was.
The big question
Should RCB bring in Hasaranga for Bracewell?
RCB WWLLW (last five completed games, most recent first)
Gujarat Titans WLWWL
Impact Player strategy
Anuj Rawat kept wickets for RCB instead of Dinesh Karthik in the last two matches and he is expected to do it again against Titans. Karthik or Mahipal Lomror could sub in and out for for left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed depending on whether they bat or bowl first.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (probable XII): 1 Virat Kohli, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Glenn Maxwell, 4 Mahipal Lomror, 5 Dinesh Karthik, 6 Michael Bracewell, 7 Anuj Rawat (wk), 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Karn Sharma, 10 Harshal Patel, 11 Mohammed Siraj, 12 Shahbaz Ahmed
Titans had swapped Shubman Gill with fast bowler Yash Dayal in their previous game against SRH. If Little returns, Gill and Mohit Sharma could be their Impact Players depending on whether they bat or bowl first.
Gujarat Titans (probable XII): 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Sai Sudharsan, 4 Hardik Pandya (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 Abhinav Manohar/Vijay Shankar, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Josh Little, 10 Noor Ahmad, 11 Mohammed Shami, 12 Mohit Sharma
Pitch and conditions
Bengaluru has been hot and humid this week and a couple of spells of rain is likely on Sunday. The average first-innings total at the Chinnaswamy Stadium is 194, so expect a run-fest.
Stats that matter
Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo