It’s been a week since the IPL 10 kicked off in Hyderabad, where the IPL 9 finalists, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore battled it out. In the end, SRH beat RCB. It’s a new season, but the challenge, it seems remains the same for the RCB. In most of the editions of the IPL, the RCB have developed a reputation for being slow starters, in spite of having arguably the best batting line-up in the tournament. They have Chris Gayle, one of the best T20 Players, they have the bewitching AB Devilliers and the extraordinary Virat Kohli. Just when it seemed L. Rahul, the in-form batsman would add power to the batting line-up, he was ruled out of the tournament because of a shoulder injury he picked up during the India – Australia Test series. Sarfaraz Khan, the talented middle-order batsman, too has been ruled out and that adds to the RCB’s woes.
Devoid of the silverware so far, the RCB also started their campaign in the absence of Virat Kohli and AB Devilliers. The former joined the squad for their last game against the Mumbai Indians, scoring a wonderfully crafted 62 off 47, whereas the latter joined during their previous game against the Kings XI Punjab, scoring a scintillating 89 off 46. Unfortunately, both efforts ended up in losing cause. Royal Challengers now have one win out of the four matches they’ve played. They host the Rising Pune Super-giants later in the day today and will be desperate to make amends and get back to winning ways.
While both Virat Kohli and ABD have started off well, playing brilliant knocks, the off-color Chris Gayle is a bit of a worry for the Bangalore-based side. Gayle hasn’t been among runs for quite some time now. Gayle has always been an important, instrumental part of RCB’s scheme of things and the West Indian southpaw needs to get back in his elements as soon as possible, as he leads the RCB and option like no one else. When in full flow, Gayle can make boundaries look like a joke. Kedar Jadhav, the diminutive right-handed middle order batsman from Pune, has grown leaps and bounds over the years and has looked in decent touch. The bowling units look better with the in-form Tymal Mills and Yuzvendra Chahal, the deceptive leggie. Samuel Badree aggrandised the bowling with a hat-trick in the last game against MI, reducing them to 7/4 before an almost unbelievable Pollard rescued and drove them home. Stuart Binny and Pawan Negi, the two Indian all-rounders, too have to step up to the occasion and help RCB get back in the groove.
RCB has always been a formidable side and their batting line-up has easily been the best in the tournament. They have, eventually, always delivered the goods but have lacked the final punch. Their game against MI was, in many ways, metaphoric to how their IPL campaign has been, over the years – they reduced the MI to 7/4, then 36/5 and just when it looked like they’ll win, they couldn’t contain Pollard and Krunal Pandya and lost the game.
We hope the Bangalore-based Vijay Mallya-owned franchise turns things around and gets back to winning ways and advances in the tournament, because when they are at the peak of their game, they bewitch like no one else, their home crowd being an underlying evidence!