IPL 2019: RCB desperate for a turnaround

Reeling at the bottom of the Indian Premier League table, Royal Challengers Bangalore hopes to bounce back when it takes on Kolkata Knight Riders at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday.

Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper, Virat Kohli, during a practice session at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  Sampath Kumar GP

Everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong for Royal Challengers Bangalore so far. The batting has been inconsistent, bowling has been mediocre and fielding, specifically the catching, has been sloppy. Then there have been the umpiring howlers to add to its woes.

Consequently, the team is languishing in the bottom of the table with zero victories to show for its efforts in its first four matches. 

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It desperately needs a turnaround and a resurgence akin to what Mumbai Indians did in 2015, where it went to win the title after starting on a similar dismal note.  The Royal Challengers can ill-afford to lose another match, making the home game against Kolkata Knight Riders at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday all the more crucial.

Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile was initially expected to be back with the squad for the match against Kolkata Knight Riders, but the bowler is likely to land only on April 9 and will be available for selection from the match against Kings XI Punjab on April 13, RCB’s Parthiv Patel confirmed. Coulter-Nile’s presence would have been a big boost to the RCB bowling line-up that has leaked runs in the death overs.

Kolkata Knight Riders will be relying a lot on its captain, Dinesh Karthik, and seasoned campaigner, Robin Uthappa.   -  Sampath Kumar GP

 

The team’s think-tank has also been continuously meddling with the batting line-up. With Virat Kohli perennially searching for the right top-order combination, Parthiv hasn’t got a steady opening partner yet, but the wicket-keeper batsman isn’t perturbed. “Personally, I have played for so many teams and played with so many openers, it doesn’t matter that much to me. I have played a lot with Virat and with Moeen together. I know what my role is and it doesn’t worry me too much.

“Everyone knows their role. It’s not like suddenly we decide that someone is opening,” he said.

Kolkata Knight Riders has had a fairly good run in the tournament, thanks to its batters. Andre Russell, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana have all contributed to the team’s cause.

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The West Indies all-rounder, in particular, has been in great form and RCB would do well to have a plan in place for him.

 

If there is an area of concern for the KKR, it has to be its bowling. The team has conceded more than 180 runs in all three of its previous outings. KKR spinner Piyush Chawla said the team wasn’t overly concerned. “Even though we conceded more than 180 in the second game against Kings XI, we also scored 220 odd runs. We could have done a bit better in the game against Delhi as a bowling unit. I don't think there is anything to worry about. But we would definitely like to pull things back,” he said.

For all the faith its skipper Dinesh Karthik has posed in Karnataka’s Prasidh Krishna, the medium pacer is yet to take a wicket this season. He will be hoping to change that at his home ground on Friday.

RCB has lost the last three matches against the Knight Riders at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. That’s a trend the host will be extremely keen to reverse. It needs a win, or it may be a little too late to recover.