CHENNAI: Royal Challengers Bangalore have been below par. They might have two points to show for their win against Sunrisers Hyderabad, but the latter crumbled from a winning position to hand Virat Kohli’s men an early IPL gift. And Bangalore did not even get a sniff of victory against Kings XI Punjab in their last game.
It would not be wrong to say that the team has concerns across all departments and they need to get their act together when they face Mumbai Indians on Monday.
The Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai comes into the game with their heads held high after an impressive win over Kolkata Knight Riders. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav and Saurabh Tiwary have been amongst the runs. Add the likes of Quinton de Kock and big hitters like Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard, they possess a powerful batting line-up. This does not augur well for Bangalore pacers, who were taken for 80 runs in the last five overs against Kings XI Punjab, exposing Bangalore’s Achilles heel.
Umesh Yadav has been way off the mark, conceding 35 and 48 runs in his two matches. Dale Steyn went for 57 in the last game. And what makes it worse is that they are the senior most pacers in the squad. It would not come as a surprise if Yadav is replaced by Mohammed Siraj. Navdeep Saini also looked below par in the last game. They cannot just depend on Yuzvendra Chahal against Mumbai batsmen.
The team management could possibly look at other options on the bench, especially with wicket-keeper batsman Josh Philippe having failed in both the innings. They have two quality all-rounders in the form of Moeen Ali and Chris Morris. Playing the latter would provide balance as he can prove to be handy with his six-hitting ability and his medium pace bowling. While the Englishman can add experience in the spin department and the middle order. This change, if it happens, might force de Villiers to keep wickets.
They have not been helped by Kohli’s failure too. He has scores of 14 and 1 in the tournament so far and that is not the Kohli which the franchise has known. Barring one innings each from AB de Villiers and Devdutt Padikkal, there has been nothing to write home about in the batting department. Aaron Finch’s failure has also put further pressure on De Villiers and Kohli once again to deliver in Mumbai.
Mumbai bowlers will be aware of how Bangalore have looked below par, and they will want to go for the kill, especially with the new ball. Trent Boult, James Pattinson and Jasprit Bumrah have all the ammunition to make life miserable for Kohli’s unit. The defending champions will be looking for early wickets, if not, other bowlers, including Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar might come under pressure.
However, the outcome of the game, to a large extent, may depend on how Bangalore bowlers perform against Mumbai batsmen.