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RCB need under fire bowlers to step up against SRH

Source: PTI
April 14, 2024 11:11 IST
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The Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers have been largely unidimensional in their approach allowing batters to tackle them with ease in IPL 2024.

IMAGE: The Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers have been largely unidimensional in their approach, allowing batters to tackle them with ease in IPL 2024. Photograph: BCCI

Royal Challengers Bengaluru's IPL campaign that began with optimism has melted into chaos. Their bowlers require a drastic transformation in mindset against Sunrisers Hyderabad for them to register an elusive win in Bengaluru on Monday.

The Royal Challengers have players of repute and elite coaches with lofty pedigree but none of their plans have worked so far, evidenced by the team's 10th place in the standings with a solitary win from six matches.


RCB's trundling run in this IPL is directly linked to their bowlers' ineffectiveness. They showed a distinct lack of willingness to adapt and upskill on conditions that needed a different thinking.

In this IPL, the bowlers have often relied on variations like knuckle balls, slow bouncers and pace-off deliveries to counter a set of ultra-aggressive batsmen.

However, the Bengaluru bowlers have been largely unidimensional in their approach allowing batters to tackle them with ease and the match against Mumbai Indians offers a case study.

For once, the RCB batters fired collectively to take them to 196, but MI hunted down the target in just 15.3 overs at the Wankhede stadium as the visiting bowlers were quite magnanimous in offering freebies.

Dew, short boundaries etc cannot be counted as excuses when a team leaks above 13 runs per over. In fact, the RCB bowlers did not have the urge or imagination to blunt a batting unit full of intent.

That's an ominous sign against the Sunrisers, whose batting line-up is as intimidating as that of Mumbai Indians.

Two Hyderabad batters – Heinrich Klaasen (186) and Abhishek Sharma (177) – are inside the top-10 run-makers and Travis Head (133) too has been consistent.

But more than the quantity of runs, how they made it make them more dangerous as Klaasen (193), Abhishek (208) and Head (177) have torn apart the bowling unit in the Power Play and in the middle-late overs.

That uniform power allocation through batting ranks makes SRH a tall proposition for the opposition bowlers. 

This is not to say that SRH, currently fifth on the table with six points from five matches, do not have a weak point.

Similar to RCB, bowling is Hyderabad's soft underbelly in this tournament with spinners Shahabaz Ahmed and Mayank Markande giving away more than 11 runs in an over with minimal returns.

But the Hyderabad outfit has found a saviour in skipper Pat Cummins, their highest wicket-taker with six scalps; he has also conceded just over seven runs an over, a very respectable economy rate in this format.

Additionally, Cummins has also shown the flexibility to operate at various junctures of a match – with the new ball in the Powerplay or bowling as second-change in the middle and death overs.

The inclusion of left-arm pacer T Natarajan (5 wickets, economy: 8.6) has given their bowling a new dimension and a bit more control in the last three matches.

Having played on a shirtfront in Hyderabad, the SRH bowlers might not feel out of home at the Chinnaswamy, which has a pitch with similar characteristics.

But can RCB exploit that above-mentioned minor chink in Sunrisers' attack?

Star batter Virat Kohli is the current holder of Orange Cap and fifties by skipper Faf du Plessis, Rajat Patidar and Dinesh Karthik against MI will certainly boost RCB's confidence.

But the form of Glenn Maxwell (32 runs, average: 5.3) remains a massive concern.

Squads (from):

Royal Challengers Bengaluru: Faf du Plessis (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Anuj Rawat, Dinesh Karthik, Suyash Prabhudessai, Will Jacks, Mahipal Lomror, Karn Sharma, Manoj Bhandage, Mayank Dagar, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Akash Deep, Mohammed Siraj, Reece Topley, Himanshu Sharma, Rajan Kumar, Cameron Green, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Tom Curran, Lockie Ferguson, Swapnil Singh, Saurav Chauhan.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Pat Cummins (captain), Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Aiden Markram, Marco Jansen, Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar, Glenn Phillips, Sanvir Singh, Heinrich Klaasen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mayank Agarwal, T. Natarajan, Anmolpreet Singh, Mayank Markande, Upendra Singh Yadav, Umran Malik, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Shahbaz Ahmed, Travis Head, Jaydev Unadkat, Akash Singh, Jhathavedh Subramanyan.

Match starts: 7.30 pm

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