What’s the story?
Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Daniel Vettori is optimistic that star South African AB de Villiers will be fit to play the team’s next match against league leaders Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.
Speaking after the match in Rajkot, where Bangalore beat Gujarat Lions for their second win of IPL 2017, Vettori said, “We're hopeful that AB is fit for that, we're hopeful that Sam's [Badree] fit for that, we're hopeful that Tymal [Mills] is fit for that.”
Vettori was also delighted that the struggling Chris Gayle returned to form, giving the RCB top order their bite back.
“Chris is at his strongest and most powerful on these good wickets and can take any bowling attack down. It's good that Chris and Travis [Head] stood up today, which means we have more selection dilemmas," added the Kiwi.
The Royal Challengers have had a hard time on the field this season, but a glut of injuries hasn’t helped their cause. De Villiers missed the opening two games of the tournament, and has played just three out of six.
Fast bowler Tymal Mills, who RCB paid Rs. 12 crore for at this year’s auction, has also been out the past two games. That Samuel Badree was also unfit against Gujarat was just the icing on a rather unpleasant cake.
The heart of the matter
Virat Kohli’s early-season absence created even more headaches for the Royal Challengers, who have seriously struggled with the bat. Therefore, multiple opening combinations have been tried, with Shane Watson – who’s out of form too – being promoted and Mandeep Singh being given a chance too.
Now that Kohli is back, RCB have a rock solid option at the top, but a fit and firing De Villiers is imperative for them, due to the weaker middle and lower order.
Injuries and poor performances have prevented Bangalore from finding a winning formula in this season’s IPL. Hence, they’ve been experimenting with their overseas set-up constantly. Adam Milne has played the last two games due to Mills’ injury, but will perhaps make way after giving up 43 runs in four overs against Gujarat.
Bangalore head to Eden Gardens on Sunday night to take on the Knight Riders, who have won their past three games, and will play Gujarat on Friday.
Royal Challengers have been given a lifeline with their win over Gujarat Lions, thanks to a thunderous and much-awaited performance from Gayle. Having AB back would give RCB their explosive top trio back that they are so dependent on.
With two wins from six games, the forecast is bleak, and the bowling still needs plenty of work. But if the batting is finally ready to make up for lost time, then there’s a chance they could get back into contention.
With four out of five wins, KKR are one of the toughest teams in IPL 2017, and beating them on their own turf will be a mighty ask for RCB.