IPL-4: Struggling RCB up against Rajasthan Royals
Three defeats in four matches is not a good record to start their campaign and the Royal Challengers Bangalore will be seeking to correct it when they take on Rajasthan at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here.
The over-dependency on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to produce match winning knocks has seen RCB plummet to bottom of the points table.
If they have to qualify for the knockout round, every player would have to contribute, be it with the bat, ball or on the field.
Thus far, only Kohli and de Villiers have been consistent with the bat, notching up scores in the upward of 30 with great poise.
But the failures of Saurabh Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal have accentuated RCB`s misery. The fans are as much disappointed as the team owners.
From what has been seen of them in the last four matches, RCB`s bowling has been rather unimaginative and has come apart at the seam under the opponent`s onslaught.
Their fielding and catching has been pathetic, manifested in the mostly-reliable Mohammed Kaif spilling a feeble offer from Michael Hussey in the previous game, against Chennai Super Kings.
Given the reprieve at eight, Hussey went on to make a match-winning 56-ball 83 not out. To sum it up, it could be said that RCB`s show has been way below par.
If they are to raise their level of performance, the entire outfit would have to show great character in pulling up the socks and deliver when it matters most.
But unfortunately, this is something that this loosely-knitted outfit has been found wanting in.
On the other hand,. inaugural IPL champions Rajasthan Royals, who have four points in as many games, have also had their share of downs.
Rajasthan had a poor day against Kolkata Knight Riders lats night when they were bowled out for a miserly 81. But they have the resources and tenacity to bounce back from such adversity.
Shane Watson is one all-rounder who could win the match on his own. Rahul Dravid, who has been hitting the ball sweetly right through the tournament, is another batsman whom RCB would be wary of. Dravid will be eager to settle scores against his former team.
As captain and bowler, the visitors have a phenomenon called Shane Warne. The Wizard of Oz has led from the front and bowled his mesmerising bag of spin goodies with great effect.
Only if RCB could have a measure of Watson, Dravid and Warne can they expect to break their losing streak. Skipper Daniel Vettori will be hoping that his beleaguered boys rise to occasion tomorrow.
The Teams (from):
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Daniel Vettori (c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers (wk), Saurabh Tiwary, Dirk Nannes, Abhimanyu Mithun, Cheteswar Pujara, C M Gautam, Asad Pathan, Johan van der Wath, Charl Langeveldt, Joanthan Vandiar, Abrar Kazi.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne (c), Rahul Dravid, Amit Paunikar, Ashok Maneria, Shane Watson, Ross Taylor, Johan Botha, Abhishek Raut, Amit Singh, Siddharth Trivedi, Nayan Doshi, Shaun Tait, Jacob Oram, Stuart Binny, Deepak Chahar, Ankeet Chavan, Aakash Chopra, Aditya Dole, Samad Fallah, Faiz Fazal, Sumit Narwal, Pankaj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Salunkhe, Pinal Shah, Dishant Yagnik.