Former Royal Challengers Bangalore players have been in sublime form in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), while at the same time, Virat Kohli and his boys are once again struggling at the bottom half of the table, in the early stages of the tournament.
While on one hand, stars like KL Rahul, Chris Gayle and Shane Watson have been tearing the bowlers apart for their respective teams in the cash-rich league, RCB’s new recruits haven’t been able perform at their optimum levels as they have once again started ever so slow in the league.
RCB opted to retain the likes of Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers and Sarfaraz Khan ahead of the auction, and while the choice of picking the first two was a no-brainer, same thing certainly cannot be said about the youngster Sarfaraz, who has scored just 11 runs in three innings so far.
Kings XI Punjab’s Rahul and Gayle have been one of the top batsmen in the league and are scoring runs for fun. While Chennai Super Kings’ Shane Watson showed in their last match against Rajasthan Royals that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the shortest format of the game.
KL Rahul – M:4, R: 153, HS: 51, SR: 171.9
Rahul started off the campaign with a stunning onslaught against Delhi Daredevils in Mohali and went up to notch the fastest IPL fifty as well. Rahul has been instrumental is providing his team with ideal starts and has scores of 51, 47, 37 and 18 in four match, thus far.
Chris Gayle – M:2, R: 167, HS: 104*, SR: 167.0
After being snubbed early on in the auction, KXIP took a punt with Chris Gayle, acquiring his services for his base price of Rs 2 Cr, and boy the decision to do so has paid dividends for the team. Gayle had a point to prove and in just two matches, he seemed to have done that by slamming a fifty and a century.
Shane Watson – M:4, R: 175, HS: 106, SR: 176.7, W: 6, ECON: 7.3
All-rounder Shane Watson too has shown that despite not playing international cricket, he still has a lot to offer in the IPL. With the help of his 51-ball ton against Royals, Watson has become one of the leading run-getters in the league, while with 6 wickets in his kitty already, Watson is amongst the top wicket-takers as well.
To make matters worse of RCB, their batting line-up hasn’t fired on all cylinders, despite having so many big names, and they have had to rely on skipper Kohli to provide respectability to the score after losing wickets in a heap in almost every game that they have played so far.
Apart from their match against KXIP, where the likes of De Villiers and Quinton de Kock fired them to their only win of the tournament so far, their batting have been found wanting on most occassion. Mandeep Singh has also shone in bits and pieces but overall, it hasn’t been a magnificent campaign for him either. Brendon McCullum failed on couple of occasions after scoring 43 in the first match and was dropped from side while his replacement Corey Anderson was dismissed for a duck in the first match that he played.
Kohli and his boys will look to make amends in their next game against Delhi Daredevils but even if they do so, RCB fans will still be left pondering of stars like Rahul, Gayle and Watson had turned up in their colors once again this season.