IPL 2022, Qualifier 2: Virat Kohli in focus as Royal Challengers Bangalore chase elusive title

Royal Challengers Bangalore, standing just two wins away from their maiden title in the Indian Premier League, will look to continue performing like a well-oiled machine when they take on a balanced Rajasthan Royals in the high-stakes IPL 2022 Qualifier-2 in Ahmedabad on Friday.

For the past 14 editions of the cash-rich T20 league, RCB always looked like the team to beat — but they have failed to deliver every time. This time, RCB seem to be on a roll and a tight win over Lucknow in the Eliminator fuelled their expectations for a long-awaited trophy.

The IPL caravan moves to Ahmedabad after a couple of high-scoring games in Kolkata. It has been a quick turnaround for RCB but they won’t mind that as they look to ride the momentum. The winner of Qualifier 2 will lock horns with Gujarat Titans in the final of the IPL 2022 in front of a huge crowd at Motera Stadium.

“The best thing is that we have one day and we play again. Cannot wait to be in Ahmedabad and take the field again. We are so excited and happy with how things have gone. Hopefully, two more games and we all can celebrate,” Virat Kohli told the IPL website after the win over LSG.

Rajat Patidar, who played the innings of his life on Wednesday, will be a man with supreme confidence in another high-pressure knockout fixture. For someone who went unsold in the IPL auction and came into the RCB squad as a replacement player, it has been a career-changing season for him.

Both the high-profile openers, Kohli and Faf du Plessis, are big match players and will be itching to make an impact after low returns in the previous game. Dinesh Karthik has managed to maintain consistency in a tough role and the team management would also be hoping for more runs in the back end of the innings from Glenn Maxwell.

In the bowling department, the likes of Harshal Patel and Josh Hazlewood have done the job for RCB on most occasions and Mohammad Siraj’s good bowling in the LSG game makes it an even more effective bowling line-up. On the other hand, Wanindu Hasaranga has shown courage despite being taken to the cleaners by batters.

Luck by chance may be favouring RCB as the last time a side that won the IPL without being in the top two teams in the league stage was led by an overseas captain. And mind you, Faf du Plessis is the only overseas captain in the playoffs this year. Can RCB make it count in the royal battle and summit clash to end their wait for the maiden IPL title triumph? We’ll have to wait and watch!

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