RCB’s misfiring middle-order needs to deliver against power-packed LSG

Lucknow: Royal Challengers Bangalore will aim to shed ᨊthe over reliance on their celebrated top-order when they face a belligerent Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL here on Monday.

RCB have struggled to maintain momentum provided by Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell, who have done all the scoring in the eight games so far.

With most teams bunched up closely in the standings, the margin for errors has reduced in the second half of the competition.

Kohli, du Plessis and Maxwell can’t be expected to do the job in every game and it is high time the likes of Mahipal Lomror, Shahbaz Ahmed and Dinesh Karthik step up.

The fielding and catching too needs to improve, something which was pointed by Kohli himself after the loss to KKR.

The former India captain will continue to lead the side unless du Plessis, who has been used as an ‘Impact Player’, regains full fitness.

Mohammad Siraj has been the stand out bowler for RCB and he needs support from the other fast bowlers. Harshal Patel is tasked with bowling the tough overs but he would want to bring down his economy rate from 9.94.

LSG, on the other hand, head into the game after a thumping victory against Punjab Kings. The batting performance against Punjab was a testament to the firepower they posses. No total is safe when Kyle Mayers, Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran get going.

Skipper K L Rahul, however, will be the feeling heat and would want to make a statement at LSG’s home ground. The pitch in Lucknow has been bit of a letdown and worked against the strengths of the home team.

Offered a batting beauty in Mohali, LSG batters went on the rampage but they have struggled due to the slow nature of the surface here. Rahul and Co. would, however, be expected to put up a much better show than what they managed in their previous home game as they failed to chase 136 from a commanding position.

Spinners have enjoyed bowling in Lucknow with Ravi Bishnoi shouldering the responsibility alongside Amit Mishra. Afghan pacer Naveen Ul Haq has been tidy in the absence of Mark Wood. Avesh Khan has conceded close to 10 runs per over in seven games and he would be looking to change that.

Squads: Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c), Kyle Mayers, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Amit Mishra, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Naveen ul Haq, Ayush Badoni, Avesh Khan, Karan Sharma, Yudhvir Charak, Yash Thakur, Romario Shepherd, Mark Wood, Swapnil Singh, Manan Vohra, Daniel Sams, Prerak Mankad, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jaydev Unadkat, Marcus Stoinis, Ravi Bishnoi and Mayank Yadav.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Faf du Plessis (c), Akash Deep, Finn Allen, Anuj Rawat, Avinash Singh, Manoj Bhandage, Michael Bracewell, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Karthik, Siddarth Kaul, Virat Kohli, Mahipal Lomror, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Siraj, Wayne Parnell, Harshal Patel, Suyash Prabhudessai, Rajan Kumar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Karn Sharma, Himanshu Sharma, Sonu Yadav, Vijaykumar Vyshak, David Willey.

Match starts 7.30 IST.