I have often spoken about Royal Challengers Bangalore as being one of the teams to watch out for and their win over Mumbai Indians on Wednesday only reaffirms my faith. Their fire-power is dazzling and if they can get their minds on the job, they are a team to beat.
Bangalore have had a slow start to the competition, like they did last season too, but the difference this year is that the other teams have caught up well. Sides like Rajasthan and Punjab, who hadn’t had a great IPL season last, are quite competitive this year and are in with a decent chance to make it to the playoffs.
This is where Bangalore will need to be careful. Two wins in a row is good but things, as we all have come to realise, change quite quickly on this edition’s points table.
Speaking of the Mumbai Indians match, Bangalore did not allow their opponents any leg room. Once Mumbai Indians had lost those two early wickets, especially that of Rohit Sharma, they were always in a catch-up mode. Of course those quick-fire 20s from Rayadu, Pollard and Harbhajan helped the team down the order, the target of 141 was never going to be a challenging one on that track.
Especially not when you have a Chris Gayle at the top of the innings as your opponent. An in-form one at that too. Dilshan's early departure did not bother Gayle too much, who has got into this amazing and unique style of batting – patting down deliveries in the first few overs without attempting too many fancy shots before launching himself in one of the latter overs to announce his arrival.
It was Pragyan Ojha’s turn to bear the brunt of his punishment this time, but it must be said that the bowler did not help his own cause by bowling a poor half over. The three successive sixes extinguished any hopes Mumbai would have entertained at the halfway stage.
Bangalore are up against Pune in their next game. The way things have gone for Pune lately, they shouldn't be much of an opposition unless Bangalore implode some way. Pune need to find some inspiration to overturn their poor recent record and it is certainly not coming from their batsmen.
Michael Clarke and Sourav Ganguly are almost similar-natured batsmen in this format of the game, in that their strike-rate will not soar like the mercury at Chennai. It does not make too much sense to bat them together at the start of the innings. Jesse Ryder, I feel, is getting wasted in the pavilion and needs to be out there in the playing 11.
Similarly, Steven Smith needs to be given a consistent run at number four while Alfonso Thomas needs to return back to the team. All said and done, Pune will find it difficult to stall Bangalore and I put my money on the visitors winning this one.