Royal Challengers Bangalore would face Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens in IPL 2019 on Friday. RCB are looking for their second win in the tournament. They know another loss would knock them out of the tournament. RCB need to win all their remaining 6 games to stay in the hunt for a play-off berth. Kolkata Knight Riders, on the other hand, would look to end their three-match losing streak and get back to winning ways.
KKR are favourites to win the match. But RCB would feel they have a chance against Kolkata as they have brought in South African speedster Dale Steyn to their squad to boost their depleted pace bowling attack. Steyn joined the RCB squad on the request of South African and RCB coach Gary Kirsten.
RCB’s pace bowling unit has failed to deliver so far
RCB have struggled of late due to their pace bowling attack, which has been toothless so far. They have leaked runs affront, middle and death overs. They have struggled to take wickets either. A lot rested on Umesh Yadav to give a breakthrough early in the innings. But Umesh is a pale shadow of himself now and has leaked runs.
He was replaced by New Zealand speedster Tim Southee to add some fireworks to the pace bowling unit. But Southee too has disappointed.
Hence, RCB coach Kirsten has sent an SOS to Steyn to boost his squad pace bowling line-up. It’s a return to home for Styen who made his IPL debut with RCB in 2008 and played for the franchise till 2010.
Steyn is the second most successful overseas bowler for RCB after Mitchell Starc. And there’s hope that Styen can get RCB’s campaign back on track with his brand of fast bowling.
Besides, Styen has been fit and among the wickets having made a successful return to international cricket recently. He is also named in South Africa squad for World Cup 2019.
So, can Steyn raise RCB spirits in the wake of a losing streak?
The inclusion of Steyn will definitely lift the morale in RCB camp and most importantly add an edge to their under-performing pace bowling unit.
Steyn will be opening the bowling for RCB and would be expected to give a breakthrough or two for the spinners to pile the pressure on in the middle overs. Steyn would also be expected to contain the run-flow in the death overs, a problem area for RCB in the last few seasons.
Steyn comes with more than a decade of international bowling experience. He can also guide the RCB pace bowlers to lift their game and make life difficult for the opposition.
Steyn would come in place of an under-performing Mohammed Siraj who has at best be pedestrian with his indisciplined bowling. RCB have gone with three foreign players for the last few matches, underlining their barren resources in the bowling department and foreign players.
Hence, the inclusion of Steyn gives RCB hope of putting up a better fightback in the matches ahead and even if they fail to qualify for play-offs, they may at best try to spoil other team’s party and rise from the last spot in the standings.
Over to Steyn to blast the opposition out in IPL 2019. KKR would be the first to bear Steyn’s fury. Or, it will be the ‘Shame’ old story for RCB.