It can’t get worse for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Rotting at the bottom of the points table, the Bangalore franchise will have a hard time recovering from the super embarrassing 49-run total that they managed against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The start to the season itself was poor: Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers were non-starters for the first couple of matches, Chris Gayle has blown hot and cold, while the middle order has looked thin as a potato chip.
They might have a gang of power hitters who look strongest on paper, but the Royal Challengers Bangalore haven’t managed to achieve the potential that they always tend to promise. As they return to their home ground for their fixture against Sunrisers, here’s a look at the possible XI:
A golden duck, his third in the IPL, was the highlight of RCB’s failed total against KKR. The way he reacted after the dismissal showed how much his own failure meant to him, and eventually to the team. Back after a one month lay-off, the expectations on Kohli are super high, especially because of the kind of superhuman form he displayed for the same franchise last year.
World Boss was under a lot of pressure to perform, and silenced his detractors with a blast from the past against Gujarat. However, the bat failed to repeat the magic against Kolkata, and Gayle might feel the sting yet again. Hopefully for him, a return to the Chinnaswamy can bring around some much needed Gayle of old.
AB de Villiers
As great as de Villiers might be as a batsman, he hasn’t exactly proved his mettle in testing circumstances. Against KKR at Eden, when the team needed him the most, de Villiers top-edged a pull shot and sent the team hurtling downwards at 12-3.
Return to the Chinnaswamy will bring back all the good memories of his past deeds. Time to yank one out of the old collection and press on the play button.
The talented Punjab batsman, who is accustomed to batting at the top of the order, has slid down due to the top-heavy triumvirate of Virat, Gayle and AB de Villiers. His last three scores read 0,0 and 1, which puts extreme on him to get going.
The only batsman from RCB’s middle order who has looked in some form, Jadhav has had a mixed tournament, with no support from the other end to get him going. Barring a 69 and a 38* (which are, by the way, good contributions, considering Bangalore’s horrid form), Jadhav has fallen without providing anything substantial, just like the others in his team.
If RCB do need to change their current scenario, they will need to change a few things in their line-up. Stuart Binny has been up to no good with the bat, and could be replaced for the hard-hitting Harpreet Singh, the new recruit, who can tonk the ball high and far.
He was the leading run scorer in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and could be tried just on the basis of his recent form.
He has been hailed by Kohli for showing remarkable composure under pressure, and despite being pushed to the third spinner’s role, Negi has been silently contributing to the team’s cause. While much can’t be said about his batting, for the bigger stars are failing with the bat, his wily bowling is still a useful weapon in the RCB arsenal.
Badree will have to prove time and again that the hattrick against Mumbai was not a fluke, and he actually has it in him to run through a side. His mysterious bowling style can be a big plus, but he needs to get his rhythm right. Also, the think tank needs to figure out if Badree has to be employed at the start or in the middle overs.
Much was read and said about him, and while he hasn’t been grabbing eyeballs, Mills has been operating decently. He has been picking up a wicket almost every match, but needs to do more damage than just limit his wickets column to one. Given that he is employed upfront, Mills will need to hurl more wicket taking deliveries instead of playing the safe, containing role.
The unsung hero of the RCB team for a number of seasons now, Aravind has never got his due. One of the most economical bowlers in the RCB camp, Aravind, with his subtle seam movement, can trouble the batsmen with the new ball, as well as stifle them with the old. However, instead of bringing him first change, he showed be bowling at the start with the brand new ball in hand.
Chahal can get RCB out of their trouble, just like he did for them last year. Their leading wicket taker in the 2016 edition, Chahal led the way from the front with a three-wicket haul, tossing the ball up without any fear, and mixing it well with his clever variations. He has the potential to run through a side on his day, but he can’t be solely relied on.