RCB up against 'the wall'

14 April,2024 07:49 AM IST |  Bangalore  |  R Kaushik

With one win in six games and sitting last on the table, Faf du Plessis & Co face a tough challenge when they take on marauding Sunrisers Hyderabad tonight

RCB skipper Faf du Plessis trains ahead of their match against SRH in Bangalore on Saturday. Pic/Royal Challengers Bengaluru

Royal Challengers Bengaluru are fast approaching the point of no-return. A little shy of the halfway stage of IPL 2024, Faf du Plessis's men are firmly propping up the league table, with just one win from six matches. Their celebrated batting hasn't quite delivered, while their bowling has been practically non-existent.

SRH's good pace attack

It's against this depressing backdrop that they face a marauding Sunrisers Hyderabad outfit, full of breathtaking ball-strikers and a solid, pace-orientated bowling group helmed admirably by skipper Pat Cummins. A return to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday night after successive losses on the road would normally lift flagging RCB spirits, but sitting as they are on a four-match losing streak, they will need oodles of inspiration if they are to wend their way back into the competition.

The singularly misfiring bowling group has heaped tons of pressure on a batting unit that, Virat Kohli apart, hasn't quite come to the party. Du Plessis is just about finding a semblance of form and Dinesh Karthik has been his usual electric self at the death, but there has been precious little otherwise, with Glenn Maxwell, who sustained a thumb injury in the mid-week loss to Mumbai Indians, the biggest let-down. The normally ebullient Aussie has made just 32 runs from six innings, 28 of which came in one knock alone.

Also Read: Not many bowling weapons, so batters must score extra: RCB skipper Faf

Du Plessis minced no words in the aftermath of the hammering at the Wankhede Stadium the other night, bemoaning the lack of penetration in the bowling. The figures justify his lament; RCB have taken just four wickets in the Powerplay while going at 10.2 runs in the first six overs, thereby unable to impose pressure of any kind on the opposition.

Klaasen sensational

If they are even slightly off the boil on Monday, they will be mercilessly punished by an SRH top order that earlier in the season posted the highest total in IPL history. The induction of Travis Head at the top of the tree has lent a new dimension to their aggressive designs while Heinrich Klaasen lower down the order has been little short of sensational. Head coach Daniel Vettori hailed Klaasen's class - ‘forgive the pun,' he guffawed - and placed him in the same league as Andre Russell when it came to ball striking; 186 runs at a strike-rate of 193.75 confirm that it is no empty boast.

The 2016 champions have unearthed a dashing batting all-rounder in Nitish Kumar Reddy, who has made the most of Mayank Agarwal's initial unavailability through injury. Agarwal might entertain hopes of making a return at his home ground, though surfaces at the Chinnaswamy this season haven't facilitated big scoring like they used to in the past, when totals in excess of 190 were the rule rather than the exception.

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