Royal Challengers Bangalore finally got the monkey off their back. After starting their IPL 2019 campaign with a horror run of six straight losses, RCB got on the board thanks to – who else – AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, who scored 59* (38) and 67 (53) respectively to ease their side to victory in a chase of 174 against Kings XI Punjab, a welcome result ahead of Monday’s game against Mumbai Indians, against whom they had a dramatic loss earlier in the season.
Can RCB carry on?
Now, they can set about salvaging this season and make an unlikely push for the playoffs. No team has ever finished in the top four after losing their first six games, so Kohli’s team will be making history if they can pull off that feat. But there is a possibility that they finish the league stage on 14 or even 16 points. The latter figure is usually enough to make the playoffs, and teams have even managed that with 14 points as well. All is not lost for RCB.
They are also set to get a boost to their much-maligned bowling attack, with Dale Steyn joining up with the team having gone unsold at the auction. Monday’s game will come too soon for the fiery South African, but if they can get a win and then add the veteran pacer to the fold, Kohli and company may build up a head a steam for the rest of the season.
Most consecutive losses at the start of a season:— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) April 7, 2019
6 Delhi Daredevils (2013)
6 Royal Challengers Bangalore (2019) *
5 Deccan Chargers (2012)
5 Mumbai Indians (2014)
4 Mumbai Indians (2008)
4 Mumbai Indians (2015) #RCBvDC #IPL2019
Mumbai look to bounce back
Mumbai are looking to bounce back following a surprising loss to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday that put a halt to their three-game winning run. The setback brought into focus a season-long concern: the middle-overs slowdown that leaves too much to do for Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard at the end of the innings.
Batting Pollard at 4 was supposed to be a solution, though the results have been mixed. The West Indian hit his highest-ever IPL score against Kings XI Punjab, a 31-ball 83 to power a chase of 198, came up the order again on Saturday and played a stuttering innings of six off 12, setting himself up for a big finish but then getting out before he could provide it. It’s an experiment worth persisting; getting Pollard more time in the middle is a sound strategy.
It would help if Rohit Sharma can hit top form. The Mumbai captain has been out for less than 15 in three of his six innings so far, though he goes into this game on the back of a well-made 47. But Sharma, the India vice-captain up against his national team skipper in Kohli, will be looking for a big score now.
Mumbai seamer Alzarri Joseph is reportedly out of the rest of the sIPL eason following a shoulder injury from the last game, which should result in Lasith Malinga coming back into the playing XI.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Lasith malinga, Rahul Chahar, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (wk), AB de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis, Moeen Ali, Akshdeep Nath, Pawan Negi, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini
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