NEW DELHI: Ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s first home game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, star batsman AB de Villiers has send out a message to the Bengaluru franchise’s fans – that they should get ready to roar.
After losing to Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on the weekend, RCB next play Kings XI Punjab on Friday. The runners-up from 2016 finished last in the league in 2017, but de Villiers believes that the IPL 11 will see a turnaround for a franchise that has never won the title.
“For RCB in 2018, the M Chinnaswamy stadium must become so much more than just our home stadium in Bengaluru – it must once again become our fortress. I have grown to love the place… the atmosphere, the history and, more than anything, the supporters who fill the grandstands every time RCB take the field,” wrote the 34-year-old, who is RCB’s third-highest run-getter with 2877 from 94 innings, in his column for TOI.
“Our home season starts with the visit of KXIP on Friday. We have done our homework and they are another powerful team; in fact, this already feels like the strongest IPL ever. So we will need to bat well, to bowl in the right places, to field like tigers and to get the crowd excited and energised. Then, for sure, the Chinnaswamy will roar again.”
“In all the IPL tournaments up to and including 2016, the average run-rate at Chinnaswamy was 8.61 runs per over, the highest in all India; but, in 2017, this scoring rate slumped to 7.42 runs per over. These are the simple facts,” he wrote. “Batsmen were struggling to get going at the ground where, on one unforgettable occasion, Chris Gayle hit 175, the highest individual score ever in the IPL, and where RCB sides have amassed 263 and 248, the highest team totals in IPL history.”
“Unfortunately, in the IPL last year, visiting teams began to love the place as well, and too many of them left with the points. We won only one of seven matches at home, losing to MI, RPS, GL, KXIP and KKR with the Sunrisers match being abandoned. We performed poorly. No excuses. It’s true the pitch did play low and slow for much of the season and 130 or 140 often seemed like it could be a winning score on the compact ground which for so long was renowned as the six-hitting capital of the cricketing world,” he wrote.
Looking at RCB’s home games, de Villiers hoped the team’s batsmen could fire as one. “I have no idea how the Chinnaswamy pitch will play this year, although the outfield does look amazing, in better condition than ever; it would be great for us, and for the spectators, if the runs started to flow once again, but, whatever we find, whatever the conditions, we must adapt and find a way to win,” he wrote.