Desperate Challengers seek win

Desperate Challengers seek win

Smarting from two successive pastings, Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to get their floundering campaign on track when they face an equally susceptible Delhi Daredevils here on Saturday.

Possessing perhaps one of the best squads, RCB are now plagued by the familiar woes of the past. Although they’ve played just four matches and it’s a bit early to make pass any judgment, their performances this season so far have mirrored their travails of last season.

Their bowling has been abysmal, conceding over 200 runs in each of their last two games, while their batting is again dependent heavily on skipper Virat Kohli and the talismanic AB de Villiers. Even if one of them fails, rivals know RCB are ripe for the taking with none from the top or middle-order able to provide the impetus regularly.

The dangerous duo of Quinton de Kock and Brendon McCullum have failed to set the stage on fire while only Mandeep Singh has shown some promise lower down with Sarfaraz Khan — a retained player — scoring a mere 11 runs in three games.

What would be worrying the RCB think-tank the most is the performance of the two spinners — Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar. Chahal was the standout performer in an otherwise dismal 2017 for RCB and the leg-spinner has struggled to hit the right notes this time. Last year, he excelled in bowling during the Power Plays and in the death — two testing phases for a bowler — but this time around he’s copped some punishment.

Sundar, who shone immensely for Rising Pune Supergiant last season and revelled at the Nidahas T20 tournament, has quickly realised how quirky cricket can be. The teen off-spinner has been taken to the cleaners, his economy rate shooting from 6.17 from last year to 9.43 now. RCB procured him with high hopes and his false start has badly dented their fortunes.

While it’s not wise to drop Sundar and Chahal, RCB should think about making a few changes in a bid to stem the slide. Wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel could be tried instead of de Kock at the top while either spinning all-rounder Pavan Deshpande or Manan Vohra can come in place of an underperforming Sarfaraz. Deshpande has had a good limited-overs domestic campaign with the bat in the season preceding IPL and the left-hander has the talent worthy of being given a chance.

Moeen Ali, a big-hitter of the ball with handy off-spinning skills, can replace de Kock while Tim Southee, who trained with the team on Thursday, can be brought in place of Chris Woakes. While making wholesale changes could affect the team, a couple can act as a tonic they desperately need.

The Daredevils, rooted at the bottom of the table, will be looking to rub more salt into RCB’s wounds. They have some dangerous batsmen in their ranks and if they get going, it could be raining boundaries at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Both teams, however, would be hoping for dry weather after heavy rain lashed the City on Friday evening. More rain is forecast for the weekend but with SubAir system in place, only an incessant downpour can wreak havoc.


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