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By B D Narayankar
Bangalore: May 3, 2014
Left to lick their wounds after losing their last three matches in a row, Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to return to winning ways when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in their first home match in Indian Premier League (IPL) 7.
Virat Kohli and his colleagues will have to quickly forget their less-than-impressive display in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and gear up to take full advantage of home conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium as they play their first match of the India-leg.
Both Bangalore and Hyderabad have garnered four points each, but the home side are placed above in the points-table because of a better run-rate.
Bangalore started off really well in the tournament by winning their first two matches even in the absence of the explosive West Indian Chris Gayle, but things went awry for them since then.
A lot of team’s success, as has been the case all these six years, will revolve around Gayle, Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers. In the five games Bangalore have played so far, they have not fired as expected.
Captain Kohli will be hoping that a return to familiar territory will be just the boost his team needs. Yuvraj has been getting decent knocks but he is not getting his rhythm right. De Villiers also have been miserable except for the 45-run knock against Mumbai Indians.
The opening stand have been disappointing for Bangalore which has resulted to their scoring the third lowest total ever in IPL history — bowled out for a meagre 70 in 15 overs against Rajasthan Royals. Bangalore were also restricted to 124 for eight in their last match against Kings XI Punjab.
Gayle, who missed the team’s first four games with a hamstring injury, showed his glimpse of batting prowess when he pummelled Kings XI Punjab from the word go, picking 20 runs in the first over of Glenn Maxwell.
However, the swashbuckling Jamaican fell in the next over, but not before making a statement of his arrival, which could prove a nightmare for any side’s bowlers.
Bangalore bowling attack looked a balanced one but in the last three matches they haven’t had the chance of bowling at the opposition with a big total in their kitty.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been the surprise package with his amazing abilities as a leg-spinner. He has picked up wickets in every match and has seven from five games.
Hyderabad will go into the match a bit low in confidence as they have registered only two wins in five matches they played so far.
They have seen just two batsmen — Aaron Finch and David Warner — making a mark so far in the tournament, though Lokesh Rahul came out good with 46 off 40 balls in Hyderabad’s last match against Mumbai.
While the team will bank heavily on Finch and Warner, it is high time that skipper and opener Shikhar Dhawan demonstrate his batting prowess. The middle-order, with the likes of Venugopal Rao and Darren Sammy, also need to play key roles.
Their bowlers have not done too badly till now. Spearhead Dale Steyn and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been pretty consistent, while leg-spinners Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma have also been decent.
But the bowlers would need their batsmen to put up substantial runs on board, so that they have something to defend against RCB, one of the better batting line-ups in IPL.
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