The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) started their campaign positively with a win against the defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Garden and on Monday they begin the first of three consecutive home games at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Their opponents the Hyderabad Sunrisers meanwhile had a poor start, conceding 209 against the Chennai Super Kings and then eventually fell 45 runs short. However, the fact that RCB have a weakened bowling attack and that their batting — with the exception of Chris Gayle — hasn’t fired, will give the visitors some confidence.
Hyderabad went into their previous game with a couple of surprise inclusions. They left out Eoin Morgan and Dale Steyn and picked Ravi Bopara and Trent Boult respectively. The bowling call-ups at least didn’t work out as planned. The left-arm seamer Boult, who performed admirably on New Zealand pitches at the World Cup, found little swing to exploit in Chennai. He would give up 34 runs in his spell while picking up just a solitary wicket — in the last over of the innings after the damage was done. With Ishant Sharma hemmorhagging runs (three overs for 46), Hyderabad may want to go in for an all-out quick in the form of South African Steyn at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday.
RCB may have coasted to victory against KKR with an over to spare, but that finish can’t paper over the cracks in their innings. Indeed, for much of the chase, Chris Gayle was hitting fours and sixes at one end while wickets were falling at the other. RCB were 133/6 in the 17th over before some big hitting from the Jamaican restored order.
However, remove Gayle’s 56-ball 96 from the scorecard and the next best innings was 28 from AB de Villiers. Virat Kohli was hustled by some good short pitch bowling while Dinesh Karthik, at Rs 12.5 crore the second most expensive Indian pick after Delhi Daredevils’ Yuvraj Singh, only made 6. Mandeep Singh and Darren Sammy who were both drafted into the side too got out playing rash shots.
A Weak bowling
While their batting boasts of firepower at least on paper, RCB’s bowling is distinctively weak. In their game against Kolkata, their three frontline pacers —Varun Aaron, Sean Abbott and Harshal Patel conceded over 9 runs an over. Indeed their sole international pacer Abbott went at 12 runs an over. The only bowler who showed some sort of control was leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who continued his 2014 form by taking a wicket and only going for 28 runs in his four overs.
But unlike their batting issues which can be resolved by a bit of application by the batters, there is little RCB can do to improve their bowling against Hyderabad, with their two main bowlers, Australia’s Mitchell Starc and New Zealand’s Adam Milne, injured.