Sunrisers could prove to be a tough opponent in front of the home crowd

This so far has been a year of sporting delight for Karnataka.

The State’s cricket squads won the Ranji Trophy, Zal Irani Cup and the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Exhilaratingly, the football fraternity too had lots to cheer as Bengaluru FC won the I-League title.

And when Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) steps into the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday night for its Indian Premier League game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, there is added pressure on the host to last the distance.

But before that, Virat Kohli’s men have to tide over their three-match losing streak in the Middle East.

The usual strategy, of muscular batting shredding rival bowlers, is still searching for a spark.

May be a home ground that has echoed to the sixes of Chris Gayle, might effect a turnaround and Kohli (105 runs), Yuvraj Singh (121) and A.B. de Villiers (73) may turn prolific.

Gayle, braved a sore back, played a lone match and biffed a 20 but he needs to do more.  Relatively, the bowlers — Mitchell Starc, VarunAaron and Yuzvendra Chahal, have performed better. The sum though has to add up and that can happen only when the top-order clicks.

Kohli refused to be cowed down by the losses in the United Arab Emirates and said: “We played good cricket in Dubai but it could have been better if we had won that third game also (against Kolkata Knight Riders).

“But good that we can analyse where we stand and we can only get stronger.”

Staring from the rival flank is Sunrisers Hyderabad that is similarly placed like RCB in the points tally (4). A lot has hinged on Aaron Finch (169), David Warner (163) and K.L. Rahul (118) while skipper Shikhar Dhawan (85) is still searching for his impact-innings.

Coach Moody backed Dhawan and said: “All you can ask of any player is to continue to work hard, and he (Dhawan) certainly has done that. There is no doubt that a score is around the corner.”

Meanwhile the visitor’s bowling helmed by Dale Steyn will have to choke Gayle and the rest. Local fans will fondly recall the speedster’s capitulation to de Villiers in a 2012 game. Hopefully, Bangalore’s much-delayed summer showers will stay away.