Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar believes that things are falling in place for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) ahead of their Qualifier 2 match in IPL 2022 against inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday and predicted them to win the match to face Gujarat Titans in the title clash on Sunday.
Bangalore booked their spot in the playoffs when Mumbai Indians defeated Delhi Capitals by five wickets and then entered Qualifier 2 with a 14-run win over Lucknow Super Giants in Kolkata. “Things are falling in place for Bangalore, they have class bowlers, and they performed well in the last match where Mohammed Siraj took a crucial wicket. Now that they have reached this point, they won’t give up,” said Manjrekar in the latest episode of ‘CricChat Season 2’ on ShareChat Audio Chatrooms.
Talking about Gujarat, the surprise package of the tournament, Manjrekar was impressed by Hardik Pandya’s leadership and even claimed that the all-rounder could be India’s captain in the future. “Hardik Pandya surprised us at how comfortable he looked in a leadership role captaining Gujarat Titans. If you are leading a team in the IPL, you can lead Team India.”
Manjrekar felt IPL 2022 will be remembered for new players rising to the occasion and stealing the limelight from big players. “This IPL will be remembered for only one reason – the quality. The lesser-known names maintained the quality of IPL and not the iconic big-name players.”
Manjrekar staunchly disagreed with talismanic batter Virat Kohli to be left out of Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia later in the year. Kohli has been in a lean patch throughout IPL 2022, recording three ducks but showed signs of form with a sparkling 73 against Gujarat in Bangalore’s last league match.
“No, Kohli is definitely not droppable because there is a huge difference between IPL and World Cup. For matches of this stature (India v Pakistan), you need people who have been there, done that. Therefore, despite Kohli’s form, he should be in the squad along with Rohit Sharma and other newer players.”
Manjrekar signed off by saying that Lucknow skipper K.L Rahul performs better minus leadership pressures, causing the right-handed opener to play safe than aggressive.”When K.L Rahul plays as ‘one of the players’ his performance is much better than when he plays as the captain because he takes too much responsibility on himself, especially after he became captain.”
“K.L Rahul has the ability to play at will. If he thinks that today he will play at a strike rate of 150, he can. But the reason he often slows down is because he has decided to play it safe.”