It was a forgettable weekend for the Royal Challengers Bangalore as they recorded the worst batting performance by a team in the history of the Indian Premier League, against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Kolkata. But Virat Kohli has previously been at the helm of capsizing ships in its safe rescue and RCB fans have pinned hopes on him yet again for reviving his team’s wretched run of form in the tournament’s first half. They next face the Sunrisers Hyderabad at home on Tuesday and here’s how things stand before the game:
RCB’s success in the previous season of 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.
A team like SRH is not the ideal opposition during a lean patch and that, in spite of them coming into the game on the back of a defeat. They had previously won four on the bounce before losing a close one against the Rising Pune Supergiants, courtesy Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s heroics. Nonetheless, the Andhra men are currently placed third on the table and will be hungry to get back to winning ways at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.
In stark contrast to RCB’s big three, the SRH top order has been on song so far in the season. In fact, their opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan (282 runs) and David Warner (235 runs) have been among the top scorers in the tournament. Even Kane Williamson announced his arrival in IPL X with a 51-ball 89 that propelled his team to a fourth home win on the trot, against the Delhi Daredevils last week. Moises Henriques (193 runs), who remained unbeaten on 55 off just 28 deliveries in the last game against Pune, would also look to lend useful contributions. With the likes of Yuvraj Singh in the extras, even the SRH bench strength looks formidable.
Spotlight on bowlers
The match will be a repeat fixture of the final last season where the batsman amassed more than 400 runs in 40 overs with the ball being dispatched all over the park. But the bowlers will play a much more definitive role in the upcoming encounter, especially with the Bengaluru wicket appearing bowler-friendly so far this season. The RCB batters need to be wary of seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar (16 wickets) and young Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan (10 wickets), who have been assisted well by Siddharth Kaul in the death overs.
Image Courtesy: BCCI