Upbeat Rajasthan Royals eye Royal Challengers Bengaluru scalp



Can the Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s men’s team lift an IPL trophy? For many years, the franchise’s hopes of winning the title seemed to burn bright. However, the way RCB have performed in this year’s IPL, things aren’t looking good for either the franchise or their loyal fans. They have won just one game and lost three. Even that one victory against Punjab Kings wasn’t a convincing one.

So, ahead of their away game versus Rajasthan Royals, let’s delve deeper to analyse the franchise’s problems. For starters, their batting unit hasn’t clicked. Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, Faf du Plessis and Cameron Green have combined to accumulate only 209 runs between them. Anuj Rawat essayed a crucial hand in the first game of the IPL 2024, but since then he has found it hard to chart a route against largely back-of-a-length bowling. 

In fact, Virat Kohli (203 runs) has been the only one to aggregate more than 100 runs for RCB. Just that, his strike rate of 140.97 has come under a bit of scrutiny. On a slightly positive note, Mahipal Lomror seems to have found his groove. Even their bowling efforts have been scratchy. If you pore through the top 10 bowlers for the season, it doesn’t have a single player from RCB. Maxwell and Yash Dayal, with four wickets apiece, are their top wicket-takers. 

Dayal has impressed in fits and starts – swung the ball both ways and employed a variety of slower ones, but they need Mohammed Siraj, the mainstay of the pace attack, to find his rhythm. Vijaykumar Vyshak, who put on a gritty performance versus Kolkata Knight Riders, is an option. They can avail the impact sub rule in order to play the Karnataka pacer.

Royals, their opponents, are flying high, currently placed second in the table. In fact, only NRR separates them and the top-placed KKR. Trent Boult and Nandre Burger, the pace sensation, have invariably dented top-orders. Meanwhile, Yuzvendra Chahal has chipped in with crucial scalps in the middle overs. Avesh Khan has consistently hit the deck hard and bowled a few vital spells in the slog overs. Sandeep Sharma, who missed Rajasthan’s last game versus Mumbai Indians due to a niggle, has also been a solid performer in the end overs. 

So, is there a concern for the Royals? Yes, there is one – Jos Buttler’s poor form. The England white-ball captain has looked a pale shadow of his former self, having scored only 35 runs at a strike rate of 85. Is age catching up with one of the finest strikers of modern day cricket? To an extent that could be true. His trigger – going back and then forward – seems to be a tad slower than what it used to be. The pace bowlers have also largely executed their plans against Buttler in the recent past.

On form, Rajasthan should come out on top. But T20 cricket is a very unpredictable format, and RCB would believe they can bounce back after a couple of chastening experiences. 

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