Royal Challengers, Kings XI look to build momentum

Royal Challengers, Kings XI look to build momentum

For Royal Challen­gers Bangalore, victories ha­ve come few and far betwe­en this season. However, th­e­se rare occasions have stirred hopes of fightback from the Bengaluru unit.

Their triumph after three defeats has gripped the fans in such revived euphoria. As they gear up to take fellow laggards and bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium on Monday, Royal challengers have their task cut out.

Their five defeats in eight matches, have burnt all their options but to win. A defeat can prove fatal for the Royal Challengers who are placed seventh in a horrendous season for them. Their fallacies are well known and were amply documented in their seven-wicket victory over Rising Pune Supergiants. The bowling, despite the inclusion of England death bowling specialist Chris Jordan, leaves a lot to be desired while on the field they generously gave lives to Saurabh Tiwary and Ajinkya Rahane, both going on to make half-centuries. Had Royal Challengers skipper Virat Kohli not intervened, who would know where the match could have swung?

Kohli ‘s maturity and rising stature was once again out there as he put behind the blips on field and led the chase of towering 192-run target with his unbeaten 108 off 58 balls. He smashed records on way by becoming the first IPL captain to score two centuries in a season and deservedly adorns the orange cap. As Kohli showed the way with grit and determination, his teammates responded in earnest. Cameos from KL Rahul and Shane Watson, that has been the best feature for Royal Challengers, ensured their campaign remain on track.

It is not often that one sees an attractive batting side like Royal Challengers ending up on losing side with this regularity. They have ridden on their batting prowess that includes the swashbuckling AB De Villiers racking up runs at fast clip in the middle over and the power of Watson lower down the order. Rahul has been consistent as an opening batsman, though his keeping still lacks finesse. But it is their depleted bowling, following injury to key bowlers, that has struggled to defend totals of even 180 plus.

The combination of four seamers Stuart Binny, Shane Watson, Varun Aaron and Jordan leaked runs against Supergiants. Only Watson shone with the ball with his 3/24 and 13 dot balls. Jordan took one wicket but it came at an economy of 10.75. It, however, was the first match for the Englishman and the management would be hoping that he would swiftly come in to his own. Both Binny and Aaron, however, couldn’t make much impact. Among the spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Parvez Rasool have been average.

In contrast, Kings XI in their last match against Delhi Daredevils were lifted by their sharp bowling at death here. The hosts, though, are facing yet another forgettable season that has enhanced their reputation of perennial underachievers. Their batting, despite the likes of Murali Vijay, David Miller and Glenn Maxwell has failed to click. They, however, were boosted by Marcus Stoinis’ all-round show against Daredevils on Saturday and boosted by the miserly spells of Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma in the last six overs.  
With bigger boundaries and home comfort, Kings XI would be going all out to spoil reputations. Royal Challengers, though, would be guarding their’s with zeal.

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