Bengaluru: Just two days after their most humiliating defeat in history, Royal Challengers Bangalore will be looking for some semblance of normalcy in their performance when they host defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday. It’s been the kind of season that was expected of RCB, who are notoriously slow starters. But following their 82-run loss to Kolkata Knight Riders, which saw the Bengaluru side wrap up their innings for a historic tournament low of 49, it’s hard not to imagine that they have hit rock bottom.
A batting line famed for their ferocious highs have realised how far they can fall. Ironically it was their much maligned, more often than not, bowling attack that came out of that match unscathed. While such a collapse, where not one made it to double figures, is less than unlikely to happen again, it is sure to play in the minds of the players; as if just the challenge of going up against the likes of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, the top wicket taker in the tournament, and Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan wasn’t enough.
With just four points from seven matches, RCB are at the foundation level of the table and despite playing at home, will come into the match as the underdogs against a side who are third with eight points. The onus will be on Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villers, all of whom have blown hot and cold this season, to get them across the line while Pawan Negi and Kedar Jhadav will be expected to chip in with the bat as well.
For once, their bowling department looks pseudo-solid with Tymal Mills, Yuzvendra Chahal and Samuel Badree all chipping in with impressive performances. At the other end, captain David Warner, currently second highest scorer in the league with 282 runs, and Shikhar Dhawan (235 runs from seven matches) are in tremendous form. Putting further fear in the opposition is the fire power of Kane Williamson.
As it stands, Yuvraj Singh’s availability is doubtful but the visitors, who are dominant at home and yet to win a match on the road, will be keen to get back to winning ways following their stinging loss, more against the maverick MS Dhoni than anyone else, to Rising Pune Supergiant in their last match....