BENGALURU: Even before a single ball was bowled in IPL 2018, Virat Kohli spoke about the present squad being one of the most-balanced Royal Challengers Bangalore sides ever. With some smart buys, they strengthened their bowling and also got some allrounders. However, there is no denying that their main strength in this edition, like previous ones, is still batting.
With strokemakers such as AB de Villiers, Kohli, Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock in the top four, they can make life difficult for any attack.
After a close win over Kings XI Punjab, Challengers will meet Rajasthan Royals on Sunday. The visitors must be aware of the threat these players pose.
Spinner K Gowtham, who is also a local boy, spoke about his team having plans for different players.
“There are plans, how to bowl to them. We are working on it and hope it comes off. We all know RCB bats deep. And me being a spinner, I am looking forward to bowling to some of the best in the business. It is a learning curve for me as well. I will also like to test myself.”
If the Royals coaching staff watched Challengers’ game on Friday closely, they must have noted down some important points. Though the pitch looked better to bat than last year, the spinners got the ball to grip and turn.
The top three from Challengers lost their wickets to spinners, out of which McCullum and Kohli were out inside six overs.
They could be tempted to play Ish Sodhi, who replaced injured Zahir Khan. Striking early could be one of the plans for Royals as it can push the home team to the backfoot.
Like Kings XI, Royals may also start with a spinner in the form of Gowtham, who has bowled during the power play in both matches so far. Having bowled for Karnataka during the field restriction period, he is confident of handling the new ball.
“I have been bowling in the powerplay for my state side as well, whenever we need to contain and also take wickets. So there is nothing different about it, just going with the flow,” said the finger spinner, who is still searching for his first wicket in the IPL. Dismissing some big RCB names could be perfect at Chinnaswamy and also memorable for him.
Though the focus may be on the big boys of RCB, one cannot ignore the Royals on the batting front. They have genuine match-winners, who can silence the home crowd with their power-hitting.
If the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes come up with their ‘A’ game, the RCB batsmen will have to deliver big time to record their second win of the season.