Royal Challengers primed to continue resurgence

Bengaluru:When Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsman Sachin Baby stated nearly a week ago that his side was poised to stage a comeback, not many believed him. Two rousing victories later, his proclamation has gained a semblance of truth.

Kieron Pollard and a Mumbai Indians support staff member at a practice session in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Though not out of the woods yet, the franchise has posted a respectable four wins in nine matches. The Bengaluru outfit took out Rising Pune Supergiants — on the back of an unbeaten century from Virat Kohli — to start the mini-run, and followed this up by edging Kings XI Punjab out by one run on Monday.

Besides Kohli, the Orange Cap holder, RCB has also leaned on A.B. de Villiers to do the job. The South African can don the role of match-winner with as much aplomb as Kohli — as shown in his 35-ball 64 against Punjab.

In the same engagement, the team was well-served by the consistent opener K.L. Rahul and Shane Watson — far and away the best bowler in the side — as well. The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fit.

Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, need to recover from a crushing 85-run defeat suffered at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday. With five wins and five losses so far, Mumbai stands only marginally ahead of the home side on the points table.

Mumbai all-rounder Hardik Pandya explained that his mates aren’t too worried about the rout, but added that a lot rides on the outcome of this fixture. “This is almost like a do-or-die match for RCB and us. Whoever loses here will find it difficult to get beyond the league stage,” he said.

Asked if the Mumbai bowlers had a plan in place to counter Kohli, de Villiers and the others, Pandya replied, “We all know how strong the RCB batting line-up is. As bowlers, we need to be confident and believe in our plans.”