RCB, LSG search for smooth sailing after uneven start


Royal Challengers Bengaluru have lost two games while defending totals and won one while chasing. Consequently, even in the early stages of the IPL 2024, there are the now-familiar question marks over the team’s bowling resources. That it’s a product of the unforgiving nature of the ground is well-documented. How could they offset the said disadvantages remains to be answered, and will be one of the many challenges that will confront them when they take on Lucknow Super Giants, who had stolen a thrilling victory over them in the previous season at the same venue.

The architect of that stunning chase, Nicholas Pooran, led LSG in their previous outing this season with KL Rahul playing as an Impact sub. It might be a role that he could well continue as LSG sweat over the fitness of Rahul, who underwent some fitness drills along with his batting routine and even some wicket-keeping practice on the eve of the game.

Despite that worry, LSG will be brimming with confidence after their victory against Punjab Kings where they also got to showcase the raw pace of 21-year-old Mayank Yadav that drew the eyeballs from the cricketing world. Despite the smaller boundary sizes on offer, Yadav’s skillset of hitting the deck hard could find its use on a pitch such as the one in Bengaluru.

To counter that, RCB will bank on their batting to come good collectively alongside the bowling upgrades needed. The likes of Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell and Rajat Patidar are yet to make their presence felt in the season so far. It has further burdened a bowling line-up that is always under pressure, and while Virat Kohli’s returns have been on the up, it hasn’t been enough to offset the lack of contributions from his top-order partners.

LSG float in the same boat with the returns of some of their top-order batters as RCB, but just as it is with the home side, the promise for more to come rings true. The teams need to put some of that scratchiness behind as early as possible in a long tournament.

When: April 2, 2024 at 19:30 IST

Where: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

What to expect: The pitch – the same strip used for the game against Punjab Kings – wore a distinct tinge of green on the eve of the match. In the couple of games played so far at the ground in this season, the pace bowlers were forced to resort to cutters to find some purchase. That prospect could see a change if the pitch plays as quick as it seems from the outside.


Royal Challengers Bengaluru

One question on RCB’s minds would be the position of Alzarri Joseph who has not created an impact in the opportunities so far. With the likes of Lockie Ferguson and Reece Topley waiting in the wings, a change in the combination remains a distinct possibility.

Tactics and match-ups:

Glenn Maxwell’s weakness against left-arm spin could be up for exploitation by Krunal Pandya who has dismissed him thrice so far. Additionally, the likes of Ravi Bishnoi and M Siddharth could also come into the equation if Maxwell’s poor returns against spin (dismissed twice in 14 balls) this season continue.

Probable XII: Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, Cameron Green, Glenn Maxwell, Rajat Patidar, Anuj Rawat, Dinesh Karthik, Alzarri Joseph/Reece Topley, Mayank Dagar, Mohammad Siraj, Vyshak Vijaykumar, Mahipal Lomror/Yash Dayal

Lucknow Super Giants

Rahul’s fitness concerns might not be too serious, but if he is deemed not fit, it opens the door for Deepak Hooda to be considered as a straight replacement.

Tactics and match-ups

Devdutt Padikkal, Quinton de Kock and Ayush Badoni have all been dismissed twice each against left-arm pace in this season. RCB could potentially have two such practitioners to go with if recent form is something to go by.

Probable XII: KL Rahul, Quinton de Kock, Devdutt Padikkal, Marcus Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran, Ayush Badoni, Krunal Pandya, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohsin Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mayank Yadav, M Siddharth

Did you know?

-Quinton de Kock has two fifties and a hundred at the Chinnaswamy stadium while Nicholas Pooran strikes at 229 at the same venue

– Faf du Plessis has an aggregate of 219 runs in four innings against Lucknow Super Giants. (Cricbuzz)


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