Smarting from a comprehensive defeat handed to them by table-toppers Kings XI Punjab on Friday, the Royal Challengers Bangalore will need to summon up considerable amounts of motivation and drive as the prepare to take on the formidable Rajasthan Royals at the Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday. The Royals, were defeated by the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday, a rare home loss for the franchise. However, as far as the standings go, the Royals are definitely much more comfortable than RCB, having garnered 10 points from eight matches as opposed to the six that RCB have to their name.
Against KXIP, the RCB batting seemed to have no particular direction. Barring South African batsman, AB de Villiers, none of the RCB batsmen showed any particular application. The most worrying factor for the side from Bangalore is the form of their skipper, Virat Kohli. The batsman has endured a rather poor season, managing only 140 runs in eight outings at an average of 20. West Indian Chris Gayle has also had a rather indifferent campaign, managing 89 in four innings. Though Gayle’s strike-rate is an impressive 156.14, he has failed to stay at the wicket for longer periods. Overall, the stuttering batting looks to be one of the major factors behind RCB’s mediocre performances this season.
A rare RR off day
The RR batting too was unconvincing in the last game against the Sunrisers, but that should not worry them as most of their batsmen have got enough runs under their belt. While the RR bowlers did a fantastic job of restricting the Sunrisers to a middling 134 on Thursday, the RCB bowlers leaked 198 runs against KXIP on Friday. Australian pacer Mitchell Starc has been one of the standout performers for RCB, putting in some tight overs at the death and also swinging the new ball at pace at the beginning. Starc has been ably backed up by Varun Aaron. The 24-year-old Aaron has picked up 12 wickets at an average of 16.08 and has been one of the bright spots for his side.
Interestingly, Friday’s game at the Chinnaswamy was played on a wicket that seemed uncharacteristically slow and aided spin considerably. The availability of spin bodes well for the Royals with the presence of the impressive Pravin Tambe in their ranks. Also, young Haryana leggie Yuzvendra Chahal’s encouraging performances — 10 wickets at 18.40 — will come as a boost to RCB.
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