It’s official. Royal Challengers Bangalore are, so far, the bunnies of IPL 2019. They are the only side yet to win, and at this rate, we’ll soon see another side to Virat Kohli – the downbeat, indifferent captain, realising even he has limits.
As for Rajasthan Royals, they picked up a seven-wicket victory, and have a campaign that’s finally got moving. With two points in the bag, they’ve at least ensured the Mankad won’t be the narrative of their season. They now have the chance to make something of it.
Shreyas Gopal. Against Chennai Super Kings in Rajasthan’s previous match, he could barely get bat on ball. Two days on, he’s dismissed Kohli and AB de Villiers with googlies. What’s more, it’s the second consecutive year he’s doing that, dismissing the duo in an innings. Know what’s funnier? Shreyas is a Bangalorean. Oh, the irony. It’s a stick that’s been administered on RCB a few times over the years – they have very few local players in and around their XI.
Shreyas won’t care about the larger picture, though. That look of disbelief on his face said plenty. He had both modern biggies of the game dismissed with wrong’uns. He added the scalp of Shimron Hetmyer with another googly, and ended with an excellent 3-12.
The boy can play.
Bangalore. Where do we start? A fourth straight loss, and no sign of a turnaround. What’s worse is that, really, no one is surprised. If Bangalore needed to have a good season, their bowlers had to fire. But do they have the quality for it? Umesh Yadav usually errs on the side of runs, Mohammad Siraj isn’t up to the mark, and increasingly, it seems if Yuzvendra Chahal fails, RCB’s attack crumbles.
Over the years, Bangalore’s batsmen have managed to pick up the slack of the bowlers. This year, even the batsmen have struggled – no one apart from Parthiv Patel and Marcus Stoinis, making his debut, impressed yesterday. There’s Nathan Coulter-Nile who is available for selection, but he was overlooked yesterday. He shouldn’t be against Kolkata next up. But it’ll be a challenge because Bangalore isn’t the most balanced side.
More than the immediate problems, what’s worrying is the inability of the management to address these concerns, which seem so obvious to everyone else. When will they learn?
What they said
“Being relaxed is when I play my best cricket.”
– Jos Buttler on the benefits of being zen, even though he didn’t look it when Mankaded.
What they didn’t say
“I wish I was part of another franchise.”
– Virat Kohli, after 12 years of hurt.
The clash of the titans. Two of the most successful sides in the tournament – Mumbai Indians and Chennai – will clash on Wednesday, April 3. Don’t expect it to live up to the billing.
All images: AFP