Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has made heavy weather of what appeared like a stroll in the park until a week ago. With 14 points from 10 games, it needed a solitary win to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
But two crushing defeats to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI) have seen fans squirm in their seats uncomfortably. On Saturday, when it meets Sunrisers Hyderabad in Sharjah, it will look to end this nervous wait.
The two positives to emerge for RCB even in the five-wicket loss to MI were the emergence of Devdutt Padikkal (74 runs) and Josh Philippe (33) as a potent opening combination and the side’s middle-overs batting.
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After the repeated failures of Aaron Finch at the top, the young Aussie came as a breath of fresh air, while Padikkal batting for an extended period meant RCB scored…