Chance for Bangalore to bounce back
After enduring two successive defeats, Royal Challengers Bangalore gets an opportunity to bounce back when it takes on Kolkata Knight Riders, which has been lagging behind, in the Indian Premier League.
Just a week back, RCB was on a high, fourth in the IPL table on the back of three successive victories.
But seven days can prove to be pretty long in this slam-bang format of the game which Royal Challengers found out much to its dismay.
Two defeats — against Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals — and the Anil Kumble-led side has slipped to seventh in the table and would be desperate to make amends when it takes on Knight Riders.
With eight defeats, Brendon McCullum-led Knight Riders has no worries of slipping any further and that is the only plus for a side which has been ripped apart by all the teams.
Its armour rusty and motivation having reached the nadir, this team offers Royal Challengers a perfect launch pad in its bid to reclaim a spot in the top half of the table.
But consistency seems to be a worrying factor for Royal Challengers and much depends on the batting prowess of Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Rahul Dravid and Robin Uthappa to set things right.
The experienced Kumble leads the bowlers and is still capable of rattling the opposition but he needs support from the other end. Praveen Kumar and Dillon du Preez have had decent outings and against a faltering KKR, they ought to fancy their chances.
But Royal Challengers would be doing itself harm if it becomes complacent against an outfit, which despite abundance of talent, hasn’t performed as a team.
Still, there’s a thin line between hope and despair and one good outing could change all that. Knight Riders certainly have the wherewithal in McCullum — runs are long overdue from him — Sourav Ganguly, Brad Hodge and the big-hitting David Hussey, who is back after Australia duty.
The bowling looks a bit suspect and though Ishant Sharma and Ajit Agarkar are generating good pace, wickets seem to be hard to come by. Knight Riders would also be hoping for some luck as it attempts to avoid the dubious record of registering the most number of defeats in the tournament, one that is held by Deccan Chargers.