BENGALURU:After having failed in the first 10 editions of the IPL, Royal Challengers Bangalore were desperate to break the jinx this time. But despite assembling a well-balanced unit, Virat Kohli’s men are still struggling. Following a poor first half where they lost five of the seven matches, qualification hopes are as thin as they can be.
They might be heading into Thursday’s match against SunRisers Hyderabad with back-to-back wins over Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, but their position has not improved significantly when it comes to the race for the top four spots. They still languish at seventh. Even if Challengers win their next two matches, it does not guarantee them a spot in the play-offs. So it does not come as a surprise that skipper Virat Kohli has asked his team to remain ‘desperate’.
“I suppose we approach it like the last three games. We know the scenario and the only way we can give ourselves that opportunity is by having the desperation. This game and the next game, we know they are two pretty tough games. Two good sides but that’s been the conversation. Virat has spoken to the team about being desperate. That’s the analogy we are trying to use going into the next game,” said head coach Daniel Vettori.
There is only one way they can reach the play-offs. They have to post two big wins and hope that other results go in their favour. It is not going to be easy, especially against an in-form Hyderabad, who have lost just three so far.
In the last few matches, the Challengers tried their best in all departments, including bowling, which has been impressive after being miserable in the first half of the competition. They improved after defending 167 against Mumbai Indians in their last home game. Since then, they have been on the road and won two of their four matches when they required three to be in a better position. They might have looked decent of late, but it might be a little too late, because both Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab are ahead of the Challengers on the table. Had they been spot on with bowling initially, things could have been different.
On the contrary, Kane Williamson’s side, who were the first to reach the play-offs, are a study in contrast. With the job done, they could have rested some and given chances to other players, but head coach Tom Moody is not keen on many changes.
“If you look at any T20 tournament, teams which have a high percentage of wins have very few turnover with regards to the playing XI. That’s pretty much the case with us. We will continue to be consistent in the last few games. Because yes, we want to continue to win and secondly, I think it is important you have the continuity within the playing XI, people understanding what their roles are and getting an opportunity to continue their form,” said the gaffer, who would want to see his team register a 10th win. A loss will certainly mean end of the road for the Chinnaswamy men.