Are Royal Challengers Bangalore digging their grave in Indian Premier League 2013? Three wins from their last six matches have done RCB little good at a time when Virat Kohli's team should have looked more menacing. Sunday's five-wicket defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders at Ranchi was humiliating for a team that has three of the top 10 run-getters of the tournament.
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With 16 points from 14 matches, Bangalore are fourth in the table and according to experts Farokh Engineer and Dean Jones, 'living on the edge' as qualification for the Champions League (top four finish must) looks dodgy.
"This is a team that is now doing everything wrong. They started with a bang, have scored all the runs and showed the rest how to win matches in IPL. But now Bangalore are going, going, gone," said Engineer to NDTV on Sunday night.
Jones was more specific. "RCB's bowling weakness is showing up. They could not exploit the Ranchi wicket after their batsmen failed," he said.
Bangalore scored their lowest total against KKR on Sunday. Their 115 for 9 was their poorest in first innings of an IPL match in India. "They look a three-batsman team. If one of them fail, the team's back is broken," Jones said of Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB De Villier's role in the playing XI.
Jones is not impressed with Cheteshwar Pujara and says if the top batsmen don't have a strike rate of 130-plus, then it's a problem. "Rajasthan's main batsmen have 125-plus and that's making a difference," the former Aussie batting star points out.
Engineer feels, RCB's bowling is becoming a worry. "Two leading spinners - Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori - are sitting out. Who will bowl the slow balls and take the pace off the deliveries?" he asks.
As the fight for the last four becomes fierce, RCB increasingly look shaky. They have two matches remaining (vs Kings XI on May 14) and (vs Chennai Super Kings on May 18) at home. While the contest against Kings XI is a potential banana skin, Chennai are not only good on the road, but have the most balanced team in the IPL this season.