Bangalore, April 8 (IANS) The Royal Challengers Bangalore, who will be hosting Sunrisers Hyderabad in a return game here Tuesday in the sixth Indian Premier League, will have to do all the running to get their campaign back on track.
The Super Over defeat in Hyderabad Sunday night would have hurt RCB who will now have the opportunity to avenge that loss on the morrow — but they have their task cut out against a team that is high on confidence.
For Hyderabad, it has been a dramatic turnaround after two poor seasons in their Deccan Chargers garb. It has been the bowling attack, led by the world’s best fast bowler Dale Steyn, rather than the batting which has been the base for the two wins thus far.
Steyn is likely to again play a key role Tuesday evening in far more helpful conditions than in Hyderabad while his new ball partner Ishant Sharma too has been in top form. In Hyderabad, leggie Amit Misra bowled exceedingly well to put the brakes on RCB. The trio of experienced bowlers would again be the men to watch.
So much so that Sunrisers were able to defend a modest total of 126 against Pune Warriors and in their next game, restricted RCB to 130. In both these matches, however, the Hyderabad batsmen, especially skipper Kumar Sangakkara, fared miserably and it is an issue that they need to address with great urgency.
Though it is early days in the six-week-long tournament, RCB would be hoping to win Tuesday if only to get back to winning ways. Opening batsman Chris Gayle’s failure in Hyderabad was a massive setback for RCB and the critics who had pointed out the Bangalore team’s over-reliance on the Jamaican powerhouse were proved right.
Those who followed Gayle, who had struck a match-winning 92 not out in the previous game against Mumbai Indians, could barely get going and they just could not put sufficient runs on the board. It was another matter that the chase ended in a tie leading to the Super Over, but RCB batsmen, including skipper Virat Kohli, need to play far better if they hope to progress in the competition.
The RCB bowling too has not exactly redeemed itself. The inclusion of Aussie seamer Moises Henriques for the Hyderabad game in place of Daniel Christian, did add sharpness to the bowling, but spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Murali Karthik have, at best, been restrictive without really threatening the batsmen.
The 4 p.m. start would straightaway eliminate the dew factor and, given the searing heat of the past few days, the pitch is likely to roll out well thus putting the onus on the batsmen.