Struggling sides look to start turnaround
Tuesday, April 19
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Several franchises have started this season of the IPL with completely new squads, led by new captains. Results have varied. Sides like Kolkata Knight Riders, who have breezed to three consecutive wins, and Kings XI Punjab, who have won two on the trot, have found success. But Royal Challengers Bangalore have found life hard, losing their last three games. While a new squad will naturally take some time to settle, what could be more revealing is the background of sides going in for an overhaul. While a side like Kolkata had every reason to do so given their woeful performances in preceding seasons, Bangalore's decision, on early evidence, could well turn out to be a case of trying to fix something that, albeit a bit creaky, wasn't broken.
Their problems have started at the top. Despite having Tillakaratne Dilshan in the squad, their opening partnerships have been worth 7, 0, 8 and 1 in their four matches so far. The bowling has leaked in excess of 160 on all three occasions they have bowled first. Sending in Zaheer Khan and Asad Pathan at No. 3 can be called either unconventional or desperate, depending on what view of the half-filled glass one holds. Not to mention the numerous misfields and dropped catches in their previous match against Chennai Super Kings.
At the moment, Bangalore could do with lots of inspiration, as could Rajasthan Royals, who put in a performance against Kolkata on Sunday that, according to their captain Shane Warne, was "weak, soft and embarrassing" . Rajasthan's abject batting capitulation - they scored 81 - even led Warne to call it a "boys against men" kind of innings. Rajasthan have generally punched above their weight in the IPL but have been blown away by a strong Kolkata unit twice in three days. Tuesday's match is the second of their three away games in five days. Can the strong words from their inspirational captain make them lift their performance against a struggling Bangalore side?
Bangalore could look at sending Virat Kohli in at No 3, given how the experiments with pinch-hitters have come unstuck. Mayank Agarwal hasn't made use of his opportunities at the top of the order, and could be replaced. Cheteshwar Pujara would not be a bad idea as opener, considering he is a top-order batsman and is being wasted at No. 7.
Rajasthan have missed the injured Rahul Dravid and Johan Botha. While Dravid should walk into the XI if he is fit, it will be interesting to see whether Rajasthan drop Shaun Tait for Botha. On current form, and considering the all-round skills of Botha, they should. Amit Paunikar hasn't got going as an opener, and his place could also come under scrutiny.
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In the spotlight
The newly-announced Sri Lanka captain, Tillakaratne Dilshan, hasn't got going so far in this IPL, with a slow half-century against Mumbai Indians his only double-figure score. Will the added responsibility back home result in a better performance on Tuesday?
Shane Watson has threatened to explode in each of his two games since returning from a demolition of Bangladesh. He was undone by a beauty from L Balaji against Kolkata. Will he tee off at the Chinnaswamy?
- Two of the three 150-plus partnerships in the IPL have been scored against Rajasthan
- There were no five-wicket hauls in the 2010 IPL. Lasith Malinga has one in this edition; can Shane Warne or Zaheer Khan take one tomorrow?
- In his time as a Bangalore player Virat Kohli has scored 859 runs in IPLs at a strike-rate of 122.01, marginally behind now visitor Rahul Dravid who had 898 runs for the franchise in IPLs, at 122.8
"I really can't pin-point anything that we are doing wrong except for bad fielding, bad batting and bowling."
AB de Villiers does not leave out much when discussing Bangalore's worries
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo