KXIP and RCB seek fourth win

The Virat Kohli-led RCB, more often than not, has flattered to deceive this season. Despite Chris Gayle’s failure and AB de Villiers' inconsistent form, the team has been scoring well, its lowest total this season being 170. But the team’s bowling has failed to defend the big totals.

Shane Watson (centre) is RCB's highest wicket-taker so far with 12 wickets. The side's bowlers, however, have struggled to defend big totals.   -  PTI

The last two teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table – Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) – look for their fourth win, when they face off on Monday at Mohali. After a series of dismal performances in the tournament, both teams won their home games on Saturday and are upbeat.

The Virat Kohli-led RCB, more often than not, has flattered to deceive this season. Despite Chris Gayle’s failure and AB de Villiers' inconsistent form, the team has scored well this season, its lowest total being 170. But the team’s bowling has failed to defend the big totals.

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RCB has been generous in giving away boundaries during the first six overs and the last five overs. When the bowlers are under the pump, they have not bowled to the field. Fielding, too, has been consistently messy with dropped catches and missed run-outs.

Another factor that has hit RCB seriously is the lack of a specialist wicketkeeper. A part-time ‘keeper like K. L. Rahul cannot be blamed for missing stumping chances and letting through byes. After all, Rahul’s keeping ability is far less honed than his batting skills.

Having scored 541 runs with an astounding average of 90.17, spread over eight innings, Kohli is seriously defying the much-believed law of averages. But Kohli alone cannot be expected to play match-winning innings day after day. For RCB to win five of its remaining six matches and qualify for the playoffs, some more names will have to perform to their reputation.

KXIP, too, has lost a few matches narrowly. Most of its leading players have not fired consistently. But its bowling has improved.

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