IPL 2022: Royal Challengers Bangalore hopes rest on their big guns

Rajasthan Royals have the edge in the clash against Bangalore, writes Ayaz Memon

By Ayaz Memon

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Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis. (BCCI)
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Faf du Plessis. (BCCI)

Published: Tue 26 Apr 2022, 12:38 AM

The Royal Challengers Bangalore slumped to the fifth position in the points table after suffering a humiliating defeat to the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their previous match.

As things stand, four teams are currently on 10 points behind table-toppers Gujarat Titans, two of these being RCB and Rajasthan Royals who clash tonight.

With the tournament around the halfway mark, every defeat becomes a major setback for all teams in the top half of the table.

The RCB have looked good intermittently. But in the match against SRH, who registered their fifth win in a row to move to 10 points, RCB were an unmitigated disaster.

Collapses are not unheard of in T20 cricket, but when a side fail to play their 20 overs and are bowled out for a paltry 68, there is no scope for recovery.

It was a spicy pitch no doubt. SRH also have the best pace bowling attack in the tournament.

The swing plus seam-and-cut expertise of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen and T Natarajan make them difficult to handle in the start and also in the slog overs.

Add to this the searing pace of Umran Malik in the middle overs and there is little respite for the batting side.

Two of RCB’s main batsmen, Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik, fell for ducks, which tells its own story. From the first over of the match to the last, SRH were in total command as RCB slumped to an ignominious nine-wicket defeat with 72 balls to spare.

The big story of the match was Kohli falling for a golden duck in the second straight match. His poor from has been a matter of concern. But with these two blobs, the sequence looks alarming and instigated a fresh round of debate among experts and aficionados about what’s going wrong with him.

Several theories abound. What most experts agreed on, however, is that he is one knock away from regaining the form which earned him a place among the most dazzling batsmen in the world.

For RCB, this is crucial as Kohli has been the weak link in a side that had otherwise rolled along fairly smoothly until the tame surrender to SRH.

Against Rajasthan tonight, the Bangalore team face perhaps the biggest test this season. Though level on points with RCB, RR have played one match fewer and have one more win to their credit. More than just points, it is the flair, freedom and ebullience with which Rajasthan have been playing which is the big threat.

Jos Buttler has been in devastating form, and has three centuries already to his credit. Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer don’t have big knocks to boast of but have also been destructive with the bat. With the top-order clicking, RR have been posting big scores regularly.

The bowling’s been perhaps even more impressive. Trent Boult has gone for a few runs in the last couple of matches, but there are few better fast bowlers than him in this format.

Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and, particularly, Yuzvendra Chahal have flummoxed and trapped the best in their web.

This is a team in irrepressible form. To stop them, RCB will need all their big guns — Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, Karthik, Josh Hazlewood, Wanindu Hasaranga, Mohammed Siraj, and most importantly Kohli — to fire.

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