Royal Challengers Bangalore hope big guns will fire
In a make-or-break match, Royal Challengers Bangalore will hope their big guns come good against the Gujarat Titans on Thursday.
Virat Kohli’s return to form could act as the one big booster for RCB. Their former captain has failed to get starts and has aggregated a mere 236 runs at an average of 19.66. Faf du Plessis and Dinesh Karthik have done the bulk of the scoring for RCB.
With 14 points in 13 matches, RCB will look to defeat table-toppers Gujarat Titans in their final game of the league phase to give themselves the best chance of progressing to the playoffs. But if they lose, it could be the end of the road as they have a negative net run rate (-.323). Even if RCB win, they have to hope that Delhi Capitals lose their final match. The Capitals are also on 14 points but have a positive NRR.
RCB lost their last match against Punjab Kings. To make matters worse, their premier pacer Josh Hazlewood went for 64 runs in his four overs.
The one big positive has been Sri Lankan Wanindu Hasaranga, who has bagged 23 wickets so far.
But bowling has been a big problem for RCB. Mohammed Siraj has conceded 85 runs in his last seven overs in this IPL. Siraj has an economy rate of 9.80 in the Powerplay At the death, it’s 14.75. But he has been one of the most economical bowlers in the middle overs, going for 6.27 runs per over.
The last game played at the Wankhede Stadium — Sunrisers Hyderabad versus Mumbai Indians — was a high-scoring match. The pitch has tended to offer spongy bounce helping the strokeplayers.
It remains to be seen if a Kohli or a Hardik Pandya can tilt the scales in their teams’ favour.