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RCB will hope to turn things around

Shreedutta Chidananda
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INSPIRATIONAL LEADER:Royal Challengers will have it tough against Pune Warriors which, under Sourav Ganguly, has lost only one of its four matches this season.— PHOTO: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH
INSPIRATIONAL LEADER:Royal Challengers will have it tough against Pune Warriors which, under Sourav Ganguly, has lost only one of its four matches this season.— PHOTO: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Just when it seemed the breach had been plugged, the embankments have given way with disappointing familiarity.

Going into its home match against Pune Warriors on Tuesday, Royal Challengers Bangalore finds itself grappling with a problem it had hoped had been overcome, but on the evidence of its last three games in IPL-V it seems like it is one that will not go away in a hurry.

What had hurt the team last year was the absence of bowlers beyond Daniel Vettori, Zaheer Khan, and S. Arvind who could be relied upon to go through their quota of overs with no great damage.

Revealing statistic

While comparing the fourth season's top four sides, one statistic is rather revealing: RCB conceded a total in excess of 170 on six occasions; of the other three, Mumbai did so thrice and CSK and KKR only twice.

This time, the acquisitions of Vinay Kumar and Muttiah Muralitharan, it was believed, would help tide over this deficiency. But Vinay has been expensive; Arvind — on his return to full fitness — went for plenty in his first game; and Chris Gayle did not look entirely fit to bowl.

Only Vettori and Muralitharan have been good, and opponents — like Rajasthan Royals on Sunday — will simply look to play them out while hammering the others senseless.

Vettori admitted his side had to learn to bowl in the closing stages; RCB bled 113 in the last seven overs against RR, and 111 in the last eight over CSK. Unacceptable, he called it, admitting that a solution had to be found — and fast.    

His men have had a day to turn things around before playing the high-flying Pune Warriors. It will be interesting to see what changes the home side makes for Tuesday for it is not the bowlers alone that have failed.

Good run

The team will have to quickly get back on track for Pune is not the same side it was last season.

The visitors looks re-invigorated under Sourav Ganguly — good leaders can have that effect.

Pune has lost only one of its four games, not conceding — as Ganguly pointed out in his pre-match press conference — a total over 160.

RCB old boys Jesse Ryder, Steven Smith (who albeit did not play a single game for the Bangalore outfit) and Robin Uthappa have been among the runs, and Ashok Dinda among the wickets.

At the start of the season, RCB would have looked at this game as one of the less-exacting ones. It will scarcely do so now.

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