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Royal Challengers Bangalore are stuttering at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. They have hit a rough patch, which has been a common feature in their previous campaigns. Despite having a good auction, Bangalore still rely on their heavyweights to perform in every match. Shrikant Shankar believes this reliance could cost them a berth in the play-offs like the last two IPL seasons.
Everyone knows that Chris Gayle is Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB’s) go-to man. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers are as good as any, but in the Twenty20 format, Gayle is the man who can single-handedly win the game. For years, the trio have been the bedrock on which Bangalore have depended upon. If they click then there aren’t many teams that can beat Bangalore. But it can also happen that the three can fail, on a given day, and Bangalore can look very ordinary. This has cost them in previous seasons as they are yet to win the Indian Premier League (IPL) title. In the last two seasons, Bangalore had not even qualified for the play-offs — something that can very well happen this year.
Gayle is injured and while his absence was not missed in the first two matches of the IPL 2014 season, they need him now after two successive defeats. For all the thrills Bangalore give to its fans, they equally dish out some pain. Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers are super batsmen and rarely all three fail to deliver. But they are not immune to failure. This is where Bangalore’s other players have not stepped up. They won the first two matches against Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians with ease. But that was more down to the opposition being very poor on the night.
Bangalore then looked on course to win three from three, but conjured up a phenomenal two-run loss against Kolkata Knight Riders. They then were trounced by Rajasthan Royals in the fourth match. Bangalore were skittled for 70 runs. Now their confidence must be quite low as they prepare to face Kings XI Punjab — the form team of IPL 2014. Punjab have won four matches in-a-row and top the IPL 7 points table. Bangalore sit in fifth position. Punjab too have some major heavyweights in their batting order and they have all delivered so far. But in their match against Kolkata, the batsmen did not turn up, and their bowlers won them the match.
Kohli’s team have good bowlers, but none are world class. Mitchell Starc and Ravi Rampaul are very good fast bowlers, but they can’t win matches on their own. Yuzvendra Chahal has done well, but he is young and inexperienced. Ashok Dinda has proved so far in his career that he will always be an expensive bowler. Albie Morkel is a very good all-rounder, but he isn’t as consistent. Overall, Bangalore have a good squad compared to previous seasons. But they still rely on Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers. This has cost them dearly in previous seasons and it can do so this time as well. They will be hoping that Gayle comes back in their line-up soon and stays injury-free till the end of the tournament.
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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