After Andre Russell’s 13-ball 48 blitz, a tottering and clueless Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) would look to start afresh against Delhi Capitals (DC) and end their five-match losing streak in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match in Bengaluru on Sunday.

The RCB desperately need to get the ball rolling as they lay at the bottom of the points table. The only silver lining that emerged from their last game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) was skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers coming back to form.

Delhi, on the other hand, have been unable to find their feet completely as they have faced three loses and registered just two wins despite being in a healthy position almost all the time.

The modern day greats – Kohli and ABD – when on a song, have the ability to decimate any opposition on a given day but the lack of good death bowlers have stung the team like anything. It surfaced in their match against KKR when not a single bowler looked to bowl yorker even as Russell kept ironing the half volleys over the boundary fence.

The RCB bowlers have not contributed enough to the team’s cause with only Yuzvendra Chahal and Pawan Negi rising to the ranks and chipping in with wickets. The bowlers fell apart when the situation demanded to take the responsibility. They leaked as many as 66 runs in the last four overs. The magnitude of power hitting could be gauged from the fact that Russell bombarded the RCB with seven sixes and a four in mere 13 balls, reversing the game’s complexion.

A visibly exasperated Kohli rightly pointed out: “If we bowl like that, [and] we don’t show composure in pressure moments, we deserve to be where we are in the table,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

“There’s no rocket science behind it. We haven’t played the kind of cricket we should be playing at the level of the IPL and if you bowl like that, with not enough bravery in the crunch moments, then it’s always going to be difficult when you have power-hitters like [Andre] Russell in the opposition.

“I think we needed to be more clinical in the last four overs. That was just one-dimensional in the end and nothing came off. We cracked a little under pressure and that’s been the story of the season.”

Kohli’s captaincy will also be put to test after being blamed for not rotating the bowlers well. On a track that was spin-friendly, he went on with his faster bowlers instead of trusting players like Moeen Ali.

Sloppy fielding, missed catches at crucial junctures have compounded to the team’s dismal performance.

Placed fifth on the points table, Delhi Capitals seem to not know the winning recipe here at the IPL as they are accused of missing the boat and letting the close matches slip off their grip.

Their best batsman, Rishabh Pant, needs to buckle up and make sure he claws the team to victory by staying till the end. Pant has been the highest scorer for Delhi so far with 158 runs in five matches at a devastating strike rate of 179.54. He would be looking to emulate his 78 runs against Mumbai against a weak RCB bowling line-up.

The other batsman who needs to take the responsibility is Prithvi Shaw. Shaw has promised a great deal at a very nascent stage of his career and now is the time that he justifies it. Barring his 99 against KKR, he is yet to come up with a performance that will thwart the opposition entirely.

Being the senior most in the batting line-up, Shikhar Dhawan needs to up the ante. A strike rate of 116.92 doesn’t win games in T20.

Unlike RCB, Delhi boast a great bowling department with the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult and Ishant Sharma in the set-up. They have a good mix with spinners like Amit Mishra, Axar Patel and Sandeep Lamichhane.

For Delhi, there is no dearth of star power. Despite the big-play ability, the only hair in the soup has been the lack of conversion rates to a win.

 

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