Cricket

Indian Premier League 2019: A desperate RCB will look to get off the blocks

KKR captain Dinesh Karthik with his teammates during a practice session ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, in Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: G.P. Sampath Kumar

Royal Challengers Bangalore simply must figure out a way to get off the blocks and join the race. After four false starts this season, the team will be desperate to get the engines firing with a win over Kolkata Knight Riders here on Friday.

But it won’t be easy, especially after the most recent insipid show that led to a seven-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday.

Catches were dropped, a run-out was missed, and the batting was rusty.

Virat Kohli and his men have been left bereft of ideas and solutions to tackle a long list of problems. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, whose eight wickets makes him the most successful bowler in the tournament, is the lone bright spot.

The side is yet to settle on a playing eleven, and going by recent trends, more changes are in order. Akshdeep Nath and Marcus Stoinis were handed their first IPL caps of the season on Tuesday, while Kohli promoted himself as opener. The moves had little impact on the outcome on the match. 

No support

West Indian Shimron Hetmyer, a powerful hitter, slipped to a fourth-straight single digit score. Parthiv Patel held fort with a 41-ball 67, but found little support at the other end.

It is down to the star players — Kohli and A.B. de Villiers — to pull RCB out of this rut. A swashbuckling knock from either batter, or better still both, can provide the spark to kick-start a stuttering campaign. A Kohli or de Villiers masterclass will blow any opponent out of the water, while compensating for failings in other departments of the game.

KKR, with two wins in three outings, is in a far more comfortable position. The side has a fearsome batting line-up, boasting of the likes of Chris Lynn, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik. 

Striking fear

Russell, in particular, has struck fear among bowlers as one of the best finishers going around. The West Indian’s 159 runs have come at an incredible strike rate of 248.43, and he must relish the chance to test the small M. Chinnaswamy Stadium boundaries. If Russell gets going once again, it could be another long night for the home team.

Experienced KKR leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, however, is not one to take RCB lightly. “RCB may be four games down, but that does not mean that they are down and out. With the quality of players that they have, they will surely bounce back and come hard at us,” Chawla said.

The Teams (From):

Royal Challengers Bengalore: Virat Kohli (capt), Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Moeen Ali, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Devdutt Padikkal, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Heinrich Klaasen, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Akshdeep Nath, Prayas Barman, Kulwant Khejroliya, Tim Southee.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (capt), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nitish Rana, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, K C Cariappa and Yarra Prithviraj.

Match starts 8 pm.


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 12:05:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/indian-premier-league-2019-royal-challengers-bangalore-vs-kolkata-knight-riders-in-bengaluru/article26731952.ece

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