While the top order led by Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli has been inconsistent, the fulcrum of RCB‘s success was Dinesh Karthik and Shahbaz Ahmed in the middle order. But with the duo in indifferent form in the last three matches, familiar batting woes have returned to haunt the team.
RCB need to plug the holes to keep their campaign on track. With four games to go, their first check point will be Chennai Super Kings in Pune on Wednesday night.
The defending champions, with MS Dhoni back at the helm, were in lethal form against Sunrisers Hyderabad over the weekend. With three wins from nine outings, CSK have their backs to the wall, but if their batsmen continue to be in rampaging form, they can fancy their chances of advancing in the competition.
CSK have often held sway in the southern derby. In 29 matches between the two teams from down south, they have emerged victorious in 19 matches while RCB have claimed the bragging rights in nine. In the first meeting of the season, Chennai had beaten RCB by 23 runs.
Taking guard for Match Day. 😎👊🏻#PlayBold #WeAreChallengers #IPL2022 #Mission2022 #RCB #ನಮ್ಮRCB #RCBvCSK https://t.co/sHgI3ruVWZ
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) 1651631400000
Wednesday’s match will be a test of character for the teams’ weakest links. Chennai’s bowling attack has proved to be a damp squib on many occasions. While Mukesh Kumar (11 wickets), Maheesh Theekshana (8) and Dwayne Bravo (14) have been among wickets, they have leaked runs in plenty. In the 81.7 overs bowled, the trio has given away 720 runs. This will be a cause for concern for CSK against RCB’s batters.
If RCB has to make an impact, their batters will have to get their act together. Seven half-centuries in 10 matches point to their bumpy run this season. The team’s leading run getter – skipper Du Plessis (278 runs) – has been blowing hot and cold, returning 5, 23 and 0 in his last three outings. Kohli announced his return to form with a 58 against Gujarat Titans in a losing cause but he will have to contribute consistently to change the fortunes of his team.
Magas❤️ and Machis💛#Yellove #WhistlePodu https://t.co/klFx8kjHQy
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) 1651594502000
Another worry, especially in the middle-order, is the erring form of all-rounder Glenn Maxwell. For RCB to take on CSK’s bowlers, firing as a batting unit will be the key.