RCB look for way out of winless wilderness

Is there a way back now? Technically, yes. But for an RCB unit that saw their win stolen away so unapologetically by Andre Russell just a night back, the breaking point is fast approaching – that is, if it hasn’t gone by already. With five straight defeats to begin their campaign, the buzzards have started to circle above, and while Virat Kohli might still be optimistic of their chances, so are they.

In a way, RCB are lucky there’s no second division league in the IPL, so they don’t have to fight relegation. But that’s where the luck ends, for there’s hardly anything else that’s gone their way this season. Not that they’ve deserved any better with the way they’ve played.

Their batting may have enough class to keep them from misfiring regularly, but the bowling remains incurable, no matter what combination they go with. Kohli was vocally upbeat about his bowling options ahead of both of their previous two matches, and then watched most of those options disintegrate, particularly against KKR. Despite all this, the worst part might actually be that there’s no one he can call upon from the bench either to help with the death-bowling malaise, at least not until the arrival of Nathan Coulter-Nile in around a week’s time.

One area where RCB might be able to help themselves is their team selection, which hasn’t made the best use of resources. Case in point – Moeen Ali, who didn’t bowl at all in the previous match and batted down the order.

Things haven’t been that rosy of late for the Delhi Capitals either. They’ve suffered a couple of losses in a row, the latest being a stinging defeat at home against Sunrisers Hyderabad where they were shackled on a tired Kotla pitch. So a visit to the Chinnaswamy, expected to serve a belter, is a welcome change of pace, as it suits the strokeplayers in their top-order along with the quality seam options they have.

When: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Capitals, April 7, at 4:00 PM IST

Where: Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore

What to expect:The summer’s been quite punishing in Bangalore and with this match starting in the afternoon, it’s going to be rough, especially for the team fielding first. Even so, with the dew coming in later as Shaw mentioned, chasing might be the preferred option.

Team News:

RCB

At this point, what the hosts do with their eleven is anybody’s guess. Umesh Yadav had a long stint at the optional practice session, bowling at one stump at the other end with coach Gary Kirsten keeping a keen eye from the umpire’s position. It’s possible he gets in for Mohammed Siraj, who couldn’t have had a greater nightmare than he did against KKR. Another smart pick would be that of Washington Sundar in place of Moeen Ali, which would allow Hetmyer to be brought back.

Probable XI:Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Akshdeep Nath, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav/Tim Southee, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal

DC

Delhi have shown flexibility in picking their teams so far, and considering this is a drastically different pitch from where they’re coming from, there could be a change or two. Trent Boult in place of Chris Morris is an option worth considering, although it carries great risk by shortening their already fragile lower middle-order.

Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer(c), Rishabh Pant(w), Colin Ingram, Axar Patel, Chris Morris/Trent Boult, Rahul Tewatia, Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishant Sharma

What they said:

“I’ve played a lot over here and it is a good wicket and I think it will be a crucial match for us and we are hoping to get some good runs on the board. Because it will be a good wicket. Not really talking about the opposition how they are doing or how they are bowling. We are just going to prepare ourselves and execute it.”

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