The big 112-run win over Rajasthan Royals had catapulted Royal Challengers Bangalore’s net run rate to 0.166 from -0.344 while lifting them to fifth in the standings.
Set to play their fifth straight game on the road, Faf du Plessis and his teammates need to cash in on that momentum and ensure they get their basics right in what is a must-win clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad on Thursday.
RCB do need to win their remaining two games to finish on 16 points. Losing to the Sunrisers may dent their playoffs prospects and push them behind the Royals, particularly if the Sanju Samson-led side beat Punjab Kings in their final league-phase game.
Besides, already being out of the last-four race, the Sunrisers may now play without any kind of pressure, which could help their players express themselves better.
Bowling-wise, the three-time runners-up don’t have much to worry about.
In the absence of pacer Josh Hazlewood and spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, who both missed the Royals game due to niggles, their replacements Wayne Parnell and Michael Bracewell did a fine job sharing five wickets among themselves. Mohammed Siraj too has fared consistently in the Powerplay overs, striking quite regularly.
It’s just their batting which seems to be a worrying factor for RCB, especially as they are heavily dependent on how the famed trio — Virat Kohli, skipper Du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell — perform. Against the Royals, Kohli wasn’t successful with the bat, but half-centuries from Du Plessis and Maxwell laid the foundation for a competitive total.
In this crunch game though, Kohli must be itching to make a significant contribution. The intensity with which he has been training at nets does reflect he’s eyeing a big one.
If Kohli performs in the remaining games and RCB reach the playoffs, he will be in a much better frame of mind, which is just what RCB need.