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Challengers' young crop hit by run drought

AB de Villiers has been the standout batsman for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 4 so far. But barring Virat Kohli to some extent, the same can't be said about the young Indian batting resources this southern power possesses. Somshuvra Laha reports.

cricket Updated: Apr 22, 2011 11:46 IST
Somshuvra Laha

AB de Villiers has been the standout batsman for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 4 so far. But barring Virat Kohli to some extent, the same can't be said about the young Indian batting resources this southern power possesses. And though it's early days, RCB will be well served if the runs come from each one of them.

Kohli was the only player to be retained by the franchise and their coach Ray Jennings felt the Delhi lad's performances had made that decision easier. "We always felt that Kohli is a future India captain and his performances speak of his talent. He is still a junior player but can assume responsibility," Jennings had said before winning their only match so far, against Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

Since then, Kohli has thrown away starts against the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings, putting the rest of the middle order under pressure. RCB lost both matches. Against the Deccan Chargers, however, Kohli was the only batsman to offer hope with a 51-ball 71 but he ran out of partners while chasing 176.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/220411/22_04_11-metro-18d.jpg

Saurabh Tiwary, who was bought for an astounding $1.6 million (R7.09 crore), hasn't got cracking. Only in the first win against the Kochi Tuskers did he bring his team close to victory but couldn't finish the job, departing to a slog off Raiphi Gomez. De Villiers, who was partnering him, then hit two sixes in the same over to seal the win. In the last two matches, against the Chargers and Super Kings, Tiwary failed to hit a single boundary.

On the eve of their crucial match against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Jennings said it wasn't as worrying as it seemed. "I think fielding and bowling are the bigger concerns. Virat had it going for him in one of those matches and even Cheteshwar Pujara's 25-odd in one match was a good innings," he said.

Opener Mayank Agarwal has had only one good outing but Jennings felt he should get more time given he is only 19.