It’s do or die for Royal Challengers Bangalore

After rain pain in the previous match, Virat Kohli’s men look to get house in order against the Gujarat Lions.

Virat Kohli will be hoping for his team to bounce back when it takes on Gujarat Lions on Thursday.   -  AFP

 

Tuesday night’s showers came as a relief to a city frying in the April heat, but they did little to help Royal Challengers Bangalore’s cause in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Given the team’s plight, a washout at home will have been regarded as a point lost and not one gained. RCB must now win all of its six remaining games to get to 16 points, a threshold teams have needed to cross in the last two seasons to enter the play-offs.

Virat Kohli’s men will first hope there is no rain on Thursday, when they face Gujarat Lions at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Both teams have endured similarly difficult campaigns, winning only two games each, and find themselves in the same dire situation. "We know that we have to win all six games,” admitted S. Arvind. “Every game is a pressure game for us."

Read: Irfan Pathan ready to roar for Gujarat Lions

When the two sides met last week in Rajkot, a whirlwind half-century from Chris Gayle ensured an easy win for RCB. That result would weigh on Gujarat's mind, Arvind felt. “Definitely (it will give us an edge),” he said. “We know our strengths and their weaknesses.”

That night belonged to Gayle but the Jamaican has done little else this season, when RCB's batting has collectively failed. Stuart Binny and Mandeep Singh have made no significant contributions, leaving the side looking distinctly lightweight. “Unfortunately, this year has been bad for him,” Arvind said of Gayle. “One year you succeed and another you don't. That is what sport is like.”

Gujarat believed it had turned a corner with victory in Kolkata, where Suresh Raina clobbered a 46-ball-84. But defeat to Kings XI Punjab followed only two days later. The bowling in particular appears a worry for Gujarat. Only Andrew Tye, who has nine wickets for the season, has done anything of note with the ball. Praveen Kumar has four wickets to show for his efforts; nobody else has more than two. Further, with the exception of Tye (7.5) and Raina (8.33), nobody who has played more than one game has an economy rate under nine for the season.

Irfan Pathan, who was signed as Dwayne Bravo's replacement, was one of the first Gujarat players to arrive for training on Wednesday. It will be interesting to note if his sixth IPL team hands him a debut at once.