Having sneaked in play-offs, RCB poses serious threat to top-heavy LSG
Team Royal Challengers BangaloreANI

Having sneaked in play-offs, RCB poses serious threat to top-heavy LSG

Another big plus point for Bangalore this season has been India veteran wicketkeeper-batter Karthik’s new-found form with the bat that has also ensured an India comeback ahead of the T20 World Cup.

KOLKATA: Virat Kohli’s return to form and a rather dramatic entry into the IPL play-offs will make Royal Challengers Bangalore a more confident unit when it meets a top-heavy Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator here on Wednesday.

After a string of low scores, Kohli found his rhythm en route to a scintillating 54-ball 73 in its last match against Gujarat Titans. This was only his second fifty this season, a visual treat for the eyes which encapsulated all the Kohli-esque shots as Bengaluru kept its hopes alive with a fine win. Kohli’s return to form will be a big plus to its top-order which often has struggled to get going in the power-play. Add Dinesh Karthik’s new-found finishing exploits, a quality bowling trio in Josh Hazlewood, Wanindu Hasaranga and Harshal Patel who would look to embrace the seam-friendly Eden conditions, and Faf du Plessis’s calm and astute captaincy, Bangalore will be upbeat in its quest of an elusive IPL title. But this time under a three-time IPL winner in du Plessis, Bangalore looks more balanced especially on the bowling front.

Even as India speedster Mohammed Siraj (eight wickets from 13 matches) has failed to impress, the trio of Hazlewood, Hasaranga and Patel with 57 wickets between them, have been their backbone.

Another big plus point for Bangalore this season has been India veteran wicketkeeper-batter Karthik’s new-found form with the bat that has also ensured an India comeback ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Assigned the role of a finisher, the 36-year-old, who was bought by Bangalore for Rs 5.50 crore, Karthik has played a key role in their qualification for the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Lucknow has the experienced duo of Jason Holder and Dushmanta Chameera but they have been inconsistent this season, something that can be a cause of concern for the KL Rahul-led outfit.

A key battle for Bangalore would be against the Lucknow Super Giants’ opening duo of K L Rahul and Quinton de Kock -- by far the best opening pair of this IPL. That they have scored 1039 runs together -- including the highest opening partnership in IPL history of 210 against Kolkata Knight Riders -- sums up their dominance. But this also will be the team’s weakness as the Lucknow franchise lacks a quality middle and lower order, barring Deepak Hooda who has four half-centuries this season.

The likes of Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya, Ayush Badoni and Holder have lacked consistency.

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