Before the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League had started, Virat Kohli announced that this would be the last time he would captain Royal Challengers Bangalore. A lot of pundits had questioned the timing of the announcement as they felt it would put pressure not only on him but his RCB players as the team — in a strong position this time around — had never won a title in the 13 years of IPL.
RCB who were on 10 points after seven games, started poorly losing their first two games to Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings. But they bounced back in style in the last three games thanks to Glenn Maxwell — who has been their hero with the bat to claim back-to-back man of the match awards — and are now on 16 points after 14 games.
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If RCB win their remaining two games against bottom played Sunrisers Hyderabad and then Delhi Capitals, they can be on 20 points and have every chance to be in the top two. Virat Kohli as a captain has looked in good touch along with his partner Devdutt Padikkal. The pair have given a brisk start to their team on match days and they have been well supported by Maxwell and Srikar Bharat.
The only player not to fire for them is AB de Villiers — but if he clicks too, Royal Challengers Bangalore will be hard to stop.
Their bowling has looked good with Harshal Patel being the highest wicket-taker with 26 so far, and Yuzvendra Chahal has also looked very good in the spin department.
The importance of finishing in the top two will be an added incentive for RCB as it gives them an extra byte of the cherry if they have a bad game in the first qualifier, and Virat will be wary of this fact and eyeing the top of the points table with two wins in the last two matches before the big games at the business end.
The last time RCB reached the top two was in 2016 where they lost to eventual champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and Virat would like to go one step ahead in this year’s IPL by signing off with a win in his last stint as captain of RCB. Moreover, if Virat can get this IPL title it will be extra confidence for India before the T20 World Cup which begins immediately after the IPL ends here in the UAE.