By B D Narayankar
Bangalore: May 5, 2012
Royal Challengers Bangalore would look to break their losing streak and bring their campaign back on track when they take on bottom-placed Deccan Chargers in their Indian Premier League clash, here tomorrow.
The race to seal one of the places in the play-offs has started and every win or loss would a count a lot from here.
Bangalore are placed sixth with nine points, two points adrift of fourth-placed Chennai Super Kings.
In their previous two outings, the hosts were hammered by Kolkata Knight Riders by 47 runs and then Kings XI Punjab won a tight match against them by four wickets.
Actually Punjab were going great guns in their chase and only three freak run-outs had brought Bangalore back in the match.
A win tomorrow would serve them well as they face formidable teams ahead -- table toppers Delhi Daredevil and Mumbai Indians twice a week's time.
Team Bangalore's bowling has been a concern as their skipper Daniel Vettori has not made much of an impact while India seamers Zaheer Khan and Vinay Kumar have also been patchy.
Batting too has struggled as apart from big-hitting Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Sourabh Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal have not pulled their weight.
They may think of accommodate Muttaiah Muralitharan but since Vettori can only pick four overseas players, it remains to be seen who they drop, if at all they recall the wily Sri Lankan.
It's been unfortunate for RCB since Muralitharan has scalped eight wickets in four matches at an impressive average of (14.00) and economy (7.00) rate compared to Vettori's five in 10 matches played so far.
Gayle and de Villiers have been terrific so far and in that case either Tilkkaratne Dilshan or Andrew McDonald would have to make way for Muralitharan.
Dilshan has scored just one half century so far, scoring unbeaten 76 against Rajasthan Royals which RCB won by 46 runs.
With just two wins under their belt out of 10 games, Chargers are a dangerous opponent as they have very little hope of qualifying for the knockouts and they can just spoil party of one of the big teams.
Luck has not favoured the Chargers much. They have had four last-ball games which they lost. Even their fielding has been an area of concern. Shoddy fielding has let them down in many matches.
Of late, Chargers batting unit has come out with flying colours with Cameron White firing on all cylinders against Pune (74) and Chennai (77). Chargers captain Kumar Sangakkara also struck form scoring 82 against Pune. The team management will be hoping them to come good yet again.
There is also concern for Chargers over hard-hitting South African southpaw J P Duminy's injury. He was left out against Pune and Chennai. Sangakkara will be hoping the Protea is match-fit tomorrow to boost the batting.
Sangakkara still has not lost hope of catching the rest on points table. Chargers after a disastrous five game losing streak, showed signs of a recovery. They took five out of the 10 points possible in their last five matches.
With six games left to play, Chargers could be right back in the competition if they can pull off three back-to-back wins against Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab and Rajsthan Royals. (PTI)
DC (Probable): Parthiv Patel (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Cameron White, Kumar Sangakkara(c), Daniel Christian, Abhishek Jhunjunwala, Ankit Sharma, Ashish Reddy, Amit Mishra, Dale Steyn, Veer Pratap Singh
RCB (Probable): Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers (wk), Saurabh Tiwary, Andrew McDonald, Daniel Vettori (c), R Vinay Kumar, Asad Pathan, Zaheer Khan, KP Appanna.