IPL2014: 36th match – Sunrisers Hyderabad v Mumbai Indians, May 12, 2014

The last time Royal Challengers Bangalore met Rajasthan Royals, they narrowly avoided beating the record for the lowest total in the IPL.

The chances of a team folding for 70 on the Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch are small but Royal Challengers will need more than the comfort of home conditions to keep their tournament alive. Except for the first two wins in the UAE, they have been unconvincing, a problem magnified by the indifferent form of their batsmen. It is perhaps a fall-out of having built their batting around three top players. With two out of form, and the public struggles of Yuvraj Singh, one of the strongest line-ups on paper has been shaky on the ground.

Their bowling, one of the more settled attacks in the first half of the tournament, has also emerged as a concern. They were alarmingly generous with their lines, conceding 25 extras against Mumbai Indians and then struggled to drag the momentum back against Kings XI Punjab, allowing their batsmen to strike boundaries from the start.

In contrast, the Royals bowling has been far more disciplined and they have stuck to the template of keeping the opposition down to a manageable score while fielding first. The failure to chase a total of 132 would have come as a reality check after four straight wins and they would be keen to shrug the loss off and focus on consolidating their position in the top four.

 

IPL2014: 35th match – Royal Challenger Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals, May 11, 2014

The last time Royal Challengers Bangalore met Rajasthan Royals, they narrowly avoided beating the record for the lowest total in the IPL.

The chances of a team folding for 70 on the Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch are small but Royal Challengers will need more than the comfort of home conditions to keep their tournament alive. Except for the first two wins in the UAE, they have been unconvincing, a problem magnified by the indifferent form of their batsmen. It is perhaps a fall-out of having built their batting around three top players. With two out of form, and the public struggles of Yuvraj Singh, one of the strongest line-ups on paper has been shaky on the ground.

Their bowling, one of the more settled attacks in the first half of the tournament, has also emerged as a concern. They were alarmingly generous with their lines, conceding 25 extras against Mumbai Indians and then struggled to drag the momentum back against Kings XI Punjab, allowing their batsmen to strike boundaries from the start.

In contrast, the Royals bowling has been far more disciplined and they have stuck to the template of keeping the opposition down to a manageable score while fielding first. The failure to chase a total of 132 would have come as a reality check after four straight wins and they would be keen to shrug the loss off and focus on consolidating their position in the top four.

 

IPL2014: 34th match – Kings XI Punjab v Kolkata Knight Riders, May 11, 2014

Gautam Gambhir won the toss and put Kings XI Punjab in to bat, hoping to restrict one of the strongest batting line-ups in this IPL to a manageable total.

Kolkata Knight Riders made two changes to their side, bringing in Morne Morkel and Piyush Chawla in place of Vinay Kumar and Shakib Al Hasan.

Kings XI Punjab also made two changes to their side. Parvinder Awana and Rishi Dhawan were brought in to put together what George Bailey called the “best XI for this ground”. Shivam Sharma, who made an impressive debut against Royal Challengers Bangalore, was left out along with L Balaji, who was expensive in his last two games.

 

IPL2014: 33rd match – Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings, May 10, 2014

They may be at opposite ends of the points table but Mumbai Indians will go into Saturday’s match against Chennai Super Kings aware of one record – they are the team to have defeated Super Kings the most number of times in the IPL, nine out of 16 encounters. In Mumbai, their IPL record against Super Kings stands 5-0. To top that off, Mumbai have won 10 successive IPL games in Mumbai.

While they would have come as immense confidence boosters, Mumbai’s last two wins at home have only underlined how heavily reliant the batting is on Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. The focus, though, will be on Mumbai’s bowlers, fresh off having reined in Royal Challengers Bangalore. Harbhajan Singh had been economical through this tournament, but against Chris Gayle and co, he stepped up as the bowling leader Mumbai needed in the absence of Zaheer Khan. He and Lasith Malinga will have to take charge again – Praveen Kumar comes into the IPL with little cricket in recent months, and Jasprit Bumrah will be playing his first match against the formidable Super Kings.

 

IPL2014: 32nd match – Delhi Daredevils v Sunrisers Hyderabad, May 10, 2014

Sunrisers are known for defending middling targets and on a sluggish pitch in Ahmedabad, didn’t let Royals get close. While the bowling looks in good health, their top-order concerns remain. Shikhar Dhawan has four scores in the 30s but hasn’t gone on to convert those. Aaron Finch, after scores of 88 and 44, has three sub-20 scores. In their last game, they had KL Rahul and Naman Ojha in the top four, ahead of David Warner, but they fell short of expectations. There is instability in the batting and while it didn’t matter on Wednesday, Sunrisers wouldn’t want to routinely leave it to their bowlers to win games.

Delhi Daredevils continue to languish at the bottom and will have to try and win most, if not all, of the remaining games to qualify for the play-offs. Playing at home has made no difference to their fortunes, for they have lost three out of three at the Kotla. Kevin Pietersen is yet to play the type of game-changing knocks he is known for. Their bowlers have struggled for wickets, having picked up seven in the last three games combined. In seven games, they have only picked up 28 wickets. Sunrisers on the other hand have picked up 44 from the same number of games.

 

IPL2014: 31st match – Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kings XI Punjab, May 9, 2014

With three wins in seven games, Royal Challengers Bangalore have plenty of catching up to do. After their defeat to Mumbai Indians on Tuesday, captain Virat Kohli said they needed to win at least five of their next seven to qualify for the playoffs. The good news is Royal Challengers are playing their next three games in Bangalore, where they have a strong record. The potential bad news? The weather. Rains have hit the city over the last couple of days and if the evening rain continues, there could be a truncated game.

Kings XI Punjab went back to the top of the table after blanking out Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday by posting 231. While their batsmen have hogged the attention, their coach Sanjay Bangar gave due credit to the bowlers, pointing to the number of times they had taken ten wickets. Kings XI have achieved this twice and in their last game against Royal Challengers, they claimed eight. It is hard at this point to pick holes on Kings XI. The only thing that could bring them down is complacency.

 
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