IPL 9: RCB need a win over Gujarat Lions to keep play-off hopes alive

May 14, 2016, 10:43 IST | Satish Viswanathan

Virat Kohli's men desperately need a win over Gujarat Lions in Bangalore to keep play-off hopes alive

Bangalore: The Royal Challengers Bangalore are in more than a spot of bother. Eight points from 10 matches isn’t a scenario they would have planned for at the start of the season, not with the likes of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson in the house but then if the stars are not aligned properly, then just having them around won’t do.

RCB players celebrate the fall of a Mumbai Indians batsman at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

Leaving aside the woes of their bowling for the moment, it must be recognised that RCB have issues with the batting too, starting at the top. They began with Chris Gayle, he hardly flexed a muscle, lost him in between to paternity leave (like it is likely to happen to the Gujarat Lions with Suresh Raina), kept him out for a few games only to bring him back. But the new father still hasn’t delivered.

Its slightly different with De Villiers, he’s usually started well, carried on at times but is yet to close an innings like Kohli has done. Watson, on the other hand, with his all-round abilities, has won them two matches with the ball but then lost them two too.

Then there is the bowling, which they want to forget about but of course can’t. That Kohli has invariably turned to the most unsung bowler in his line-up Yuzvendra Chahal, to get him the breakthroughs tells the tale.

Chris Jordan has been hit all the way to Syria many a time and is yet to bowl even one effective over, while the less said about Varun Aaron the better. Kohli has made many changes to the bowling line-up but they are yet to turn into an attack.

Gujarat eye top spot
The Gujarat Lions would not want any of that to change, at least not today afternoon when they can look to seal their spot in the play-offs and get closer to the favoured top two finish. What an achievement that would be for a team was put together in haste.

In effect, the game could well be Kohli, Gayle and De Villiers on one side, up against Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch. Throw in a Watson and Dwayne Bravo and it’s a heady mix but unlike the Futsal league that involves five players a side, a cricket game, even the T20 format, still requires XI per side. Therein lies the rub.

Captains' wishlist

Virat Kohli
Royal Challengers Bangalore
>> Opener Chris Gayle finds some form
>> In-form Lokesh Rahul scores big
>> Gujarat’s Aaron Finch is dismissed cheaply

Brendon McCullum
Gujarat Lions
>> Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers underperform
>> Dwayne Bravo provides an all-round show
>> Pacer Dhawal Kulkarni takes early wickets

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