RCB to make amends for missing 2012 IPL playoffs
After agonisingly missing out on the end of season play offs on net run rate in last season’s IPL, 2011 runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore have started this season in bullish mood, winning three of their first four matches to head the nascent league table. They currently share 7/2 joint second-favouritism in the IPL outright betting with Mumbai Indians, with omnipresent finalists Chennai Super Kings just ahead of the pair on 3/1.
Last season’s IPL man of the tournament Chris Gayle has shone in their bright start, but unlike last season when the Jamaican was the lone leading light he is actually being out-gunned by his team mate Virat Kohli.
Away from the fireworks with the willow the shrewd acquisition of Indian swing bowler RP Singh looks to be a master-stroke with the net run rate in mind. Royal Challengers will be Singh’s fourth franchise in the IPL, but despite his journeyman profile the Uttar Pradesh native is third in the all time IPL wickets-taken standings, behind only Lasith Malinga and Amit Mishra.
Singh sat out Bangalore’s first two games, but the 2009 winner of the Purple Cap for IPL leading wicket taker showed his worth when called upon in the third game, taking three wickets for 27 in four overs. His presence in the team alongside Daniel Vettori, Zaheer Khan and Muttiah Muralitharan should ensure that the Royal Challengers attack is that bit sharper that last term.
The fact that RCB have gained all three of their wins on home turf may seem like a call for caution in assessing their chances of success in this year’s tournament, but they came very close to beating Sunrisers Hyderabad in their only away clash so far, only losing out in the super over. Last season they were actually more effective on the road, winning five games as visitors and just three as hosts.