Monday, April 22, 2024

Royal Challengers take on KKR


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Bengaluru, March 28: Victory in their respective previous games might have eased the initial nerves but imperfections remain, hence Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Kolkata Knight Riders will eye a quick course correction to add steam to their campaign in an IPL 2024 match here on Friday.
The Royal Challengers defeated Punjab Kings by four wickets, while the Knight Riders elbowed out Sunrisers Hyderabad by four runs to garner some early points.
But entering the points table has not really eased some of the worries — particularly pertaining to the top and middle-order batting.
The Bengaluru dugout might be a happy space after star batter Virat Kohli made a classy fifty on an unusually gripping Chinnaswamy pitch while chasing 177 against Punjab the other night, but that’s only one part of the story.Skipper Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, Cameroon Green and Rajat Patidar are yet to hit the overdrive, and for the win against PBKS they had to rely on the last-minute cameos of Dinesh Karthik and ‘Impact Player’ Mahipal Lomror.
The Kolkatans have a much more capable bowling unit, at least on paper, and such a collectively underwhelming effort by frontline batters might push RCB into deep troubles against them.
Once they iron out that rough edges, RCB can look at their bowling unit that still needs to fill a couple of unticked boxes despite good outings by pacers Mohammed Siraj and Yash Dayal against Punjab.
Pacer Alzarri Joseph continues to be profligate and his figures — 0/38, 1/43 — might prompt the RCB think-tank to bring in England left-arm quick Reece Topley, who has impressive white-ball skills, in place of the West Indian for this match.
The Knight Riders offer a strikingly similar plot. Their top and middle-order consisting of captain Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana malfunctioned against SRH at the Eden Gardens.
It required a combined effort from impact sub Ramandeep Singh, Rinku Singh and Andre Russell — the 6, 7, 8 — for them to post a competitive total.Shreyas, who is central to their batting plans, was dismissed for a two-ball duck, but the return to Chinnaswamy might give him a sense of relief as he had fruitful outings here in white-ball cricket in his last two innings.
The elegant right-hander made an unbeaten 128 against the Netherlands in last year’s World Cup before making a 53 against Australia in the fifth T20I in December.
In bowling, Narine redeemed himself with a frugal spell (1/19) after a modest effort with the bat, but pacer Mitchell Starc, their record buy, and Varun Chakravarthy failed to impress, leaking over 50 runs in their four overs.
The KKR think-tank might not be unduly worried as their campaign is still at a nascent stage, but they would like to see the first-choice pacer and spinner finding their range at the earliest.
But it is unlikely that the Knights will make changes to their eleven for this match, unless they want to give a go to promising leg-spinner Suyash Sharma, who showed fine form during KKR’s pre-season matches. (PTI)


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