RCB bank on batting might

RCB bank on batting might

Bangalore look to get back to winning ways as they face Kings XI Punjab today

Tracking Royal Challengers Bangalore has been a frustrating job in the fifth season of the Indian Premier League.

GEARING UP: RCB’s Virat Kohli (centre), K P Appanna and Luke Pomersbach (right) warm up with a game of soccer  during a practice session at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Tuesday. DH PHOTO/ SRIKANTA SHARMA R

They have most of the components of an ideal T20 outfit -- a set of bionic batsmen, an experienced skipper and an honest bowling unit under the exceptional Zaheer Khan. But the gap between possibilities and results has been quite worrying as evidenced by their record thus far -- four wins and an equal number of defeats with one wash-out in nine matches.

After three consecutive losses, the Royal Challengers showed signs of stitching together a 2011-like winning streak, defeating Pune Warriors, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals in succession. But Kolkata Knight Riders smashed any such hopes at the Eden Gardens, registering a massive win.

Mid-table squabble

Alarm bells haven’t yet started tolling, but a defeat against Kings XI on Wednesday will put them among the teams, who are engaged in a fierce mid-table squabble to be in the top four, and ensure a berth in the knockout stage of the tournament.

Daniel Vettori’s side might be tempted to take comfort from their five-wicket win over Kings XI at Mohali a few days back.

But the Punjab men are coming here after taming defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their own den, and they also have impressive wins away from home at Kolkata and Mumbai to show, underlining their status as dangerous floaters.

So, not attaching significance to their ability to explode without warning could bring some serious repercussions, and they also have some classy players in their ranks such as Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, Praveen Kumar and the new kid on the block Parvinder Awana, and all of them can be match-winners on their day.

It’s imperative then for Royal Challengers to produce their best on the morrow, not just for a win but to break further away from the chasing pack as well.

For that, their Indian contingent should contribute more meaningfully. So far for the wins, Royal Challengers have relied on the might of Chris Gayle and the innovativeness of AB de Villiers. Such has been their consistency, Royal Challengers, perhaps, have forgotten to think about a Plan ‘B’. It was evident against the Knight Riders.

Bizarre innings

For once de Villiers failed to score anything substantial, and Gayle played a bizarre innings of two phases – bringing in his feared big hits only after the match was sealed in favour of Kolkata.

Royal Challengers struggled to force pace once their trusted hit men failed to do the job, and that effort underscored the importance for the likes of Virat Kohli, R Vinay Kumar, Mayank Agarwal and Saurabh Tiwary to step up the tempo. All the aforementioned names have had their moments in the tournament, but consistency has sorely been missing.

Kohli has just one fifty to show despite getting a few good starts, Vinay has been quite generous in giving the runs away, Mayank promised an outstanding tournament in the early part before fading away, while Tiwary’s moment is limited to just one six against Pune Warriors to lead RCB to a win.

They have already left it too late for comfort, and with the tournament fast progressing to its business end, the Indian players need to find their range.

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