RCB, the biggest underachievers of IPL, if you go by the points table, have had a decent start to the tournament so far, having won both of their first two matches. However, take a magnifying glass to their twin wins and the reality will become clear.
In the opening match, despite being given a modest 160-run target by Mumbai Indians, the Virat Kohli-led RCB won on the final ball. Their star-studded top order got starts but could not hang till late and get the job done. If it wasn’t for AB de Villiers’ clutch 27-ball 48, RCB, instead of collecting two points, would have lost by quite a margin.
In their next match, the story of their batting wasn’t very different as their top order against got starts but did not do any more than that. Two-down batsman Glenn Maxwell (59) was the only that did well.
Thankfully for RCB, their bowling unit has been making up for the batters’ underwhelming displays. Medium pacer Harshal Patel deserves a special mention as he has been pivotal with the ball for Kohli’s side in both their wins. Against Mumbai, he had a five-wicket haul and gave away a mere 27 runs, and against SRH the next game he was again brilliant, finishing with figures of 2-25 in his four.
Mohammad Siraj is another one who has started the new season strongly and proven suffocating for the opposing batsmen.
Kolkata will be kicking themselves for not being unbeaten after the first two matches. They won their opening match against the Sunrisers by 10 runs, thanks to the foundation laid by their top-order batsmen, especially Nitish Rana, who top scored with a 56-ball 80.
In the second match, KKR were tasked with chasing down a modest 153-run target, thanks to Andre Russell’s five-for. They got a 72-run stand from their openers. From that point on, the chase should have been a cakewalk but then Rahul Chahar happened.
The Mumbai legspinner claimed four straight wickets, including both the openers, to singlehandedly dismantle the KKR top order. The KKR had a complete meltdown after that and ended up 10 runs short. It was really shocking as KKR have one of the better middle-orders, with names such as Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan, not to mention Russell himself lower down the order.