Royal Challengers Bangalore have gone into a temporary meltdown, losing their last four matches of the UAE leg. Sunrisers Hyderabad were slow off the blocks but two wins in the last three games has them running. Bangalore will be playing their first home game in India hoping that their luck will turn.
Bangalore are back playing at fortress Chinnaswamy. They can draw inspiration from the side’s performance there last year — seven wins from eight games. Hyderabad were given a seven-wicket thrashing with Virat Kohli playing a blinder — 93 not out off 47 balls. With short boundaries on either side of the wicket and a flat wicket, this ground is a strokeplayers’ delight. And Bangalore have the batting strength to destroy any bowling attack not the least when the conditions are favourable.
Kohli’s captaincy test
Kohli the batsman has been untouchable, but with losses mounting, his captaincy is coming under increasing scrutiny. Kohli’s aggression, which seems to be good for his batting, is perhaps not helping his captaincy. His job has not just been to contribute at the top of the order, but also decide how to get the best out of a batting line-up packed with big hitters, apart from managing the stars in the side into a unit. How he handles a string of losses will give an indicator of his style of captaincy.
One of the few positives for Hyderabad in this tournament is Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling. His overall figures in the five matches in UAE read: 19.3 overs, 120 runs and eight wickets. Compare this with his performance in the World T20 where he took just four wickets in six matches. Before that in Asia Cup, which was an ODI event, he had only three wickets in four matches. Kumar has always been useful with the brand new ball, but has improved in the death overs. He’s getting his yorkers right and is also keeping the batters guessing with his change of pace and seam movement. In fact, he is one of the top Indian pacers so far in the tournament, along with the likes of Varun Aaron. He will have his task cut out against Gayle and company.
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