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Royal Challengers Bangalore after a fine start to their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 have struggled to notch up victories. Bharath Ramaraj analyses the beleaguered line-up.
When one of the star-studded teams of IPL 2014, Royal Challengers Bangalore won their first two matches of the tournament, there was an inkling that they would push the envelope in terms of performances. There was also a genuine hope that finally Bangalore setup under Virat Kohli’s captaincy is playing with a single-minded focus to go all the way and lift the coveted IPL 7 trophy.
However, to win a tournament like IPL, it requires consistency. Unfortunately, it has eluded Bangalore unit in IPL 7. Since winning their first two games of IPL 2014, they have won only one match. With a loss to Kings XI Punjab on their home turf in their last game, they more or less find themselves in dire-straits now.
On paper, Bangalore line-up boasts of players whose names are glittered in gold in Twenty20s (T20s). The likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and skipper Kohli, can turn the tables around on the opposition ranks within no time. But barring de Villiers, rest of them haven’t been able to fire. Now, de Villiers, arguably world’s best batsman going around is unique in the sense that he can succeed in all three formats. But at the same time, even the likes of Jamaican marauder, Gayle, and Kohli were expected to take their game to great heights as well.
To be fair to Gayle, he is short of match practice. He was down with a hamstring injury for the first few games of IPL 7. There is a feeling that he still hasn’t recuperated completely from the injury. He only came back from the game against Kings XI Punjab. It can also be said that bowlers in IPL have tried their best to stay from Gayle’s arc of hitting by bowling it a touch wide of off-stump. It is a risky tactic, as if a bowler bowls it slightly short and Gayle gets the chance to free his arms, the ball can disappear deep into the stands. However, to some extent, it has worked against Gayle in IPL 2014. For instance, Sandeep Sharma snared his wicket for Punjab by swinging it late away from him to produce the edge.
Their skipper, Kohli, is too good a player not to do well in the shortest format of the game. But he needs to come good sooner rather than later. The other major disappointment for Bangalore has been the form of Yuvraj Singh. He certainly comes across as a pale shadow of his former self. Bangalore certainly depend a lot on the trio of Kohli, Gayle and de Villiers and for them to win games, they need all of them to come to the party.
Actually, Bangalore’s bowlers like Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Aaron and Mitchell Starc have to some extent kept them in most of the games. But even they couldn’t stop the run flow when up against Mumbai Indians and Punjab, respectively.
Twenty20 is a fine example of cricket being a game full of glorious uncertainties, as one heroic performance can lift the sagging spirits of a team and win you a game. Unfortunately for Bangalore, despite de Villiers shining like a beacon against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and winning them a game, he hasn’t been able to change the fortunes of Bangalore line-up. But hope springs eternal, and Kohli will believe that his team will pull off a coup de theatre act and get back on track by winning a slew of matches.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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