Smarting from their seven-wicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore will be determined to redeem their pride in front of home fans when they take on Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday.
As RCB skipper Anil Kumble admitted, their performance at the Eden Gardens was below par in all departments of the game.
Their batting was unimpressive as they huffed and puffed to a niggardly 135. Their bowling came apart at the seam as Manoj Tiwary tore into their attack like a hurricane.
To add to their brimming on-field woes, RCB fielding was shoddy, highlighted by Sreevats Goswami’s blundering glove work.
If RCB want to raise the performance bar as they had belatedly done in South Africa last season, they have to get their act together quickly before their hopes of making it to the semifinals is blown away at the very start of competition.
Except Jacques Kallis, who resolutely batted through the 20-over innings, the rest of the RCB batters came a cropper.
Much was expected of Goswami, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey, but the talented triumvirate fell to impetuous strokes.
Unless these youngsters and English-import Eoin Morgan, who would be eager to stabilise his place before Ross Taylor arrives, provide the thrust at the top, it will be difficult for RCB to overcome Kings XI Punjab’s robust challenge.
Kumble has put his faith in Kallis’ bowling but the burly South African has failed to deliver with the ball, conceding far too many runs when his role is to contain the batsmen.
This will weigh heavily on the team management’s mind when they pick the 11 for Monday’s match.
However, considering that they have a paucity of all-rounders, RCB may be reluctant to tinker with the combination. Their only option would be to give Virat Kohli a bowl if either Kallis or Dale Steyn comes under assault.
RCB have a bowling all-rounder in R Vinay Kumar, who emerged as the most successful bowler in 2009-2010 domestic season with 62 wickets.
Kings XI Punjab, tamed by Delhi Daredevils in their first outing, also have issues on hand, especially with their fortified batting failing comprehensively at Mohali.
Yuvraj Singh’s fitness certainly must be a bother. It seems the left hander is yet to recover completely from the wrist injury he sustained in the series against Bangladesh.
Against Daredevils, his bottom hand lost grip of the handle as he shaped to hit Farveez Maharoof over the top, meekly holing out to Gautam Gambhir at mid-on.
The two teams have a similar tale to share. Like RCB, Kings XI found only on significant contribution from Ravi Bopara (52). Otherwise, there was precious little contribution from other batters, including captain Kumar Sangakkara (17), Yuvraj and Mahela Jayawardene.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Anil Kumble (Captain), Jacques Kallis, Sreevats Goswami, Manish Pandey, Virat Kohli, Eoin Morgan, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa, RE van der Merwe, Dale Steyn, Praveen Kumar, Mark Boucher, R Vinay Kumar, Abhinav Mithun, S Sriram, Bhuvaneswar Kumar, K P Apanna.
Kings XI Punjab: Kumara Sangakkara (Captain), R S Bopara, M S Bisla, Mahela Jayawardene, Yuvraj Singh, Mohd. Kaif, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Cahwla, S Sreesanth, Romesh Powar, Y A Abdulla, Amanpreet Singh, L Abhilish, Bipul Sharma, R S Sodhi, S J Srivastava, T M Srivastava, A K Agral, V S Malik, S Sohal, K Goel.