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IPL 2024: Bowlers pivotal in RCB’s resurgence

Thankfully, for the management and the die-hard fans, the bowlers have regained their form exemplarily, giving the side a potent look.
Last Updated : 13 May 2024, 22:01 IST
Last Updated : 13 May 2024, 22:01 IST

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Bengaluru: A major contributing factor behind Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s remarkable reversal in fortunes that has seen them chalk up five wins on the bounce has been the resurgence of their bowling unit.

Bowling, quite often, has been Royal Challengers' Achilles Heel and the trend continued this season too as Mohammed Siraj and Co faltered badly at the start.

Siraj, who has risen to become one of India’s key all-format pacers, was all over the place and expectedly was taken to the cleaners by rival batters. In the opening eight matches where RCB managed just one win, Siraj went over 10 runs an over. He neither took wickets nor could stem the flow of runs.

The poor form rubbed onto others, with fellow opening pacer Yash Dayal guilty of lacking control and Vyshak Vijaykumar, who services weren't utilised optimally, falling apart following a decent start. Alzarri Joseph looked ragged while the highly-rated all-rounder Cameron Green found the going tough as RCB's bowling struggled for any sort of rhythm or control.

IPL, however, is a two-month marathon and gives enough time for players to stage a comeback provided the management sticks with them. RCB, mostly for lack of top-quality options than anything else, had no choice but to stick with Siraj and Co and hope they regain their mojo before time ran out.

Thankfully, for the management and the die-hard fans, the bowlers have regained their form exemplarily, giving the side a potent look.

Consider this, when RCB dismissed Delhi Capitals for 140 in Sunday’s do-or-die game here, it was the third straight instance of Faf du Plessis' side packing off their opposition. Who would have envisioned such a turnaround from an attack that looked toothless and bled runs just a month ago?

Only table-toppers and already qualified Kolkata Knight Riders have bowled their opposition out more times – four – than RCB this season with Mumbai Indians behind at two. Remaining teams have achieved it once, except Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings.

“Brilliant, we have put up a great performance. It's just confidence. First half of the season, we were just fighting for it. First five or six games, we couldn't get wickets, now three times or so we have bowled opposition out,” said an ecstatic du Plessis at the post-match press conference.

“A lot of work has gone behind the scene. I feel like behind closed doors, we are getting it right, we are talking about our process and what we need to achieve. I feel there is a lot of variety in bowling as a skipper, six-seven options, you asses the conditions and see what you can do.”

While Siraj and Dayal have been at the forefront of the revival by landing early blows and being deadly at the death, it’s the performance of the spinners Karn Sharma and Swapnil Singh in the crucial middle-phase that has allowed Challengers to constantly keep the choke-hold on the rival batters.

Both Swapnil and Karn, after a match, weren’t considered in the opening half but when things went south, RCB had no option but to try them out. And both have packed a punch, Swapnil making the utmost use in his role as an Impact Player and Karn relishing his role as lead spinner. They’ve been expensive in search of wickets but the six scalps each have been pivotal for RCB.

The X factor has been Lockie Ferguson, the New Zealand pacer doing a fine job as first-change pacer. He also has been expensive but has been effective in taking wickets.

“I feel there is a lot of variety in bowling as a skipper, six-seven options, you asses the conditions and see what you can do. Yash has been exceptional. Lockie has been brilliant. Both (batting and bowling) need to have a full crack. We want to be bold,” said Du Plessis.

RCB bowlers will cool their heels for five days before they take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings on May 18 in what could be a potential knockout game as both sides eye a play-off spot.

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Published 13 May 2024, 22:01 IST

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