Royal Challengers play last game at home for pride
Out of play-offs for the second consecutive year, Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on Chennai Super Kings Saturday in their last IPL-7 league tie at the Chinnaswamy stadium here, more for pride than to prove anything to its frenzied fans, who feel let down by their poor show in this tournament.
With 10 points from eight losses and only five wins in 13 league matches, the hosts have not much to show except hoping to sign off on a winning note playing against a formidable Super Kings, who have qualified for play-offs being runner-up in the points table with 16 points from eight wins and five losses.
Back-to-back defeats in away games against Kolkata Knight Riders by 30 runs Thursday and against Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets May 20 after a thrilling five-wicket win over Super Kings at Ranchi May 18 sealed RCB's fate, as its batsmen and bowlers were found wanting in finishing on a winning note.
Though Royal Challengers began the hunt for the cup on a winning note in the UAE during the first leg (April 16-30) of the tournament, they failed to sustain the momentum and struggled to stay course in the second leg, playing at home and away.
The poor form of RCB's otherwise explosive opener Chris Gayle throughout the tournament and lack of consistency in putting up big scores by its captain Virat Kohli put paid to efforts to stay in the reckoning.
Though their most expensive all-rounder Yuvaraj Singh, bought for a whopping Rs.14 crore in this year's auction by its flamboyant owner Vijay Mallya, returned to form in a couple of games, including two at home - 68 not out against Delhi Daredevils May 13 and 83 not out against Rajasthan Royals May 11, his failure to contribute similarly in other games cost the team dearly.
Only middle order batsman A.B. de Villiers showed consistency in most of the league ties, with valuable contributions that led RCB to finish couple of games in its favour.
In contrast, two-time champions and three-times runners up CSK has nothing to lose but play out for an outright win to consolidate their position in the points table and brace up for play-offs to make it to the finals for a record sixth time.
With a solid batting and bowling combination, they will go all out to avenge their five-wicket loss to RCB at its skipper M.S. Dhoni's home turf (Ranchi) May 18.
As both the teams landed Friday and were jet-legged, they opted to rest than practise at nets.
Super Kings will also be looking to get over a six-wicket loss to Sunrisers at Ranchi Thursday though they did not lose its second ranking in the points table behind Kings XI Punjab, which is perched on top with 18 points from nine wins and just three losses.
(Posted on 24-05-2014)