Uphill task for Royal Challengers Bangalore

Uphill task for Royal Challengers Bangalore
In a competition where even minor slip-ups can prove costly in the long run, it is not an easy task for teams to bounce back from a blow as big as the Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered on Sunday night in Kolkata.

Bangalore’s run in the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League has been ordinary and their humiliating 82-run defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders has landed them in deep trouble.

As they take on a strong Sunrisers Hyderabad here at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Tuesday, it will be a test of character for RCB to put the bitter memories of their previous tie behind and produce a winning performance.

RCB suffered their fifth defeat in their seventh game on Sunday following what was an appalling batting performance. The last year’s finalists, in pursuit of 132, crashed to 49 all out, the lowest total in the history of IPL.

Half-way through their campaign, the Challengers are placed last with four points. Along with RCB, two other teams -- Gujarat Lions (seven games) and Delhi Daredevils (six games) -- are also on four points, but Virat Kohli’s side are languishing at the bottom thanks to an inferior net run rate (-1.210). 

The road is only going to get tougher for the Challengers. Starting from Tuesday, they play four games -- two home and two away -- in the span of six days. With all teams still in fray for the play-offs, another defeat could virtually end RCB’s chances of progressing to play-offs.

After a fighting win against Gujarat Lions last week, RCB had set themselves up nicely for a second straight victory when their bowlers restricted the Knight Riders to 131 all out.

Though low totals can be tricky to chase down, the manner in which RCB capitulated came as a huge surprise. RCB’s struggle in the batting department once again came to the fore and despite an achievable target, the Challengers failed to click as a unit again.

The loss exposed RCB’s overdependence on the big trio of Kolhi, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers. The middle-order comprising of Kedar Jadhav, Stuart Binny and Pawan Negi has looked fragile and it has come up short in forging partnerships.

Barring Jadhav, none of the other batsmen down the order has a half-century to their name. At the top,  injury concerns have plagued de Villiers while Gayle and Kohli will be looking to be more consistent. Mandeep Singh’s forgettable show hasn’t helped the team much.

On the bowling front, RCB will bank on the spin duo of Samuel Badree and Yuzvendra Chahal to produce the breakthroughs against a strong Sunrisers’ batting line up.

For Hyderabad, Skipper David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Moises Henriques are in good touch. The defending champions would be eager to see Yuvraj Singh back in action after the veteran batsman missed the previous tie due to flu. 
  
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with 16 wickets, is the current leading wicket-taker and the right-arm medium pacer’s knack of being economical during the death overs can hurt RCB.
The surface at the Chinnaswamy hasn’t been the typically high-scoring one and it remains to be seen how the wicket behaves on Tuesday.

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