After a forgettable weekend for the Royal Challengers Bangalore during which they recorded the worst batting performance by a team in the history of the Indian Premier League, Virat Kohli’s men suffered another setback as their next game, against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, was washed away. They currently stand sixth in the table after having managed only five points in eight games as they now have to win all their remaining matches in order to stay alive in the tournament.
But Virat Kohli has previously been at the helm of capsizing ships in safe rescues and RCB fans have pinned hopes on him yet again for reviving his team’s fortunes after a disappointing first half. They next face the Gujarat Lions in Bengaluru on Thursday, who have themselves underperformed after a promising debut last season. They are also one of the only two teams that RCB have been successful against in IPL X. Here are the key talking points ahead of the match:
RCB’s success in the previous season of the IPL can largely be attributed to their phenomenal batting lineup on paper. But the absence of skipper and opener Virat Kohli during the first few weeks hurt them terribly as AB de Villiers was also recovering from injury and Chris Gayle’s poor run of form even saw him on the bench for a match. But despite Kohli’s return, the Bengaluru outfit has been unable to string together a good run while batting. Sunday was the nadir as they were all out for a paltry 49, the lowest ever total in the IPL.
The Gujarat Lions will be a welcome opposition on the day for the men in red and gold, with the fledgling outfit having just four points from their seven games. Bowling has been a big problem for Suresh Raina’s men, who have just 26 wickets to show for themselves from six games. They will be hoping to fit in their best pacer Andrew Tye, who has taken nine wickets in four games including a hat-trick. However, all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is out of the IPL while India’s ace spinner Ravindra Jadeja is yet to fire. Even Praveen Kumar has also lacked pace and swing. Kerala pacer Basil Thampi, with his ability to bowl yorkers at will has been a bright silver lining though.
A familiar face
One of the key talking points of the game will also be comeback man Irfan Pathan, who went unsold in the IPL auction this year, but has been drafted into the GL squad to replace the injured Bravo. In the last nine seasons, Irfan has played for five franchises, taking 80 wickets and scoring 1,137 runs in 102 IPL matches. If he is included in the playing XI, his batting exploits could also come in handy to support the likes of Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum and skipper Raina who have all performed in bits and pieces this season.
Image courtesy: www.iplt20.com
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