Battling Challengers seek revival

Battling Challengers seek revival

UNDER SCANNER Royal Challengers Bangalore need to get their act right in the bowling department when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday. DH Photo

On the eve of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s first game of the season, skipper Virat Kohli had predicted his team’s bowling to emerge as a surprise for everyone. Kohli had stated that his side will be known for its bowling. Six matches into the league, the Challengers’ bowling indeed is being widely discussed, but for all the wrong reasons.  

The manner in which they have let slip the advantage with poor bowling, especially at the death, has been shocking. When the Challengers leaked 88 runs in the final five overs at home against Rajasthan Royals, it appeared like a one-off incident where they had no answers to Sanju Samson’s brilliance. But the wayward bowling at the fag end of the innings has now become an unhealthy trend of their campaign.

When Kohli’s men face Kolkata Knight Riders at the Chinnaswamy stadium here on Sunday, death bowling will be their major worry. It’s been a forgettable start for the three-time finalists, with just two wins from six games. The revival looks daunting as beneath the big problem of bowling, lie smaller concerns that have troubled the team.

The think tank was confident of the squad’s balance but RCB have failed to find a winning combination. There is no change in the story as far as their batting is concerned. Though Quinton de Kock produced a quickfire fifty against CSK, dependence on AB de Villiers and Kohli is strikingly evident and it will hurt RCB if they don’t find different match winners with the bat. Apart from de Kock, Mandeep Singh and Washington Sundar’s regular cameos have been the other minor bright spots in the batting.

Change in combination will be inevitable for the hosts. With the track offering turn, they might bring in off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali in place of the struggling Corey Anderson. Tim Southee could also provide some stability at the death with his experience. Pawan Negi hasn’t made a mark so far and it will be interesting to see if the Challengers persist with him. With time fast running out, Kohli will have to inspire his side with smart captaincy. His decision to bowl out two of his best bowlers – Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – by the 14th over against the Chennai Super Kings, puzzled many.

The Knight Riders are also struggling for consistency and they come into the tie on the back of a crushing 55-run defeat to Delhi Daredevils. Sunil Narine the batsman, who has a special liking for RCB, will be targeting another brutal knock while the likes of Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell hold the ability to win matches single-handedly. Kolkata’s bowling will depend on chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, who is yet to make a mark this year.

The defeat against CSK would have certainly hurt the morale of the Challengers. It is crucial for them to fire as a unit with the bat and close out the innings well while bowling.


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