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AB de Villiers has a golden advice for Virat Kohli that can help RCB in winning the tournament

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IPL 2019 | RCB needs to turn home ground into fortress, says AB de Villiers

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SportsCafe Desk


AB de Villiers has stated that the Royal Challengers Bangalore need to turn their home ground M Chinnaswamy Stadium into a fortress, in order to enjoy consistent success. He cited examples of other victorious teams like Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians and suggested to learn from them.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore had finished eighth and sixth in their previous two editions of the Indian Premier League, and this edition hasn't been going in any other direction as they have lost all six of their games until sitting bottom of the table. Needing to win all of their eight remaining matches in order to secure a playoff berth, RCB have played three home matches so far and their next three encounters are away games.

However, their star batsman AB de Villiers has been of the opinion that the team would be needing to win more at their home ground in Bengaluru make it a fortress, by going in with a team more suited to play as per the conditions there.

"At RCB, we need to ensure Chinnaswamy Stadium becomes a fortress. It is one of the smaller arenas, with one of the highest average batting scores in the IPL, but we have not enjoyed the consistent success that will surely follow from the combination of predictable playing conditions, with a strategy to suit," De Villiers wrote, reported TOI.

Referring to the biggest teams in the cash-rich league, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, the former South African batsman stated that a lot needs to be learnt from them.

"It is a fact the two most successful teams in IPL history are the two teams which have most effectively turned their home ground into a fortress," De Villiers reckoned. 

The Wankhede stadium has a flat pitch and smaller boundaries, similar to M Chinnaswamy, which makes it a haven for batters. The Mumbai Indians have the perfect combination required to survive in these conditions. They have powerful hitters like Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers, backed up by ideal death bowling options like Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah. This has enabled them to enjoy sustained success over a long period of time, a fact the RCB's second highest run scorer pointed out.

"Mumbai Indians have consistently produced a wicket with pace and bounce at the Wankhede stadium, ideally suited to successive batteries of topclass fast bowlers, and formidable home form has underpinned their three IPL titles. MI were unbeaten at home in 2013; they won five out of seven at home in 2015, and they won five out of seven at home in 2017,” the 35-year-old stated.

CSK have set high standards for every IPL team, given their consistent track record in the T20 format. The pitch at Chennai’s Chepauk has traditionally been a slow and dry track which assists spinners, and the team’s management has three ace spinners Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir in their ranks, coupled with able part-timers. CSK have tied all the visiting teams to the ground, and restricted RCB and Kolkata Knight Riders for a total of 70 and 108 respectively, courtesy of their spinners who have scalped 21 wickets until now.

"Chennai Super Kings also have a powerful home record, where the notoriously slow Chepauk wicket favours spin bowlers. This year, a trio of worldclass spinners in canary yellow -- Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir -- have found grip and turn, combining to strangle the visiting batsmen, restricting opponents to modest totals. As a result, so far in 2019, CSK have won each of their four matches at home, helping them to the top of the table halfway through the pool phase,” reckoned the former South Africa captain.

In spite of the losses, RCB have received tremendous support from their fans, but the bowlers have let them down, while even the batting has failed to play to their potential. But their biggest culprit has been their fielding, which have failed them in capitalizing tight moments in close matches. The batsman also pointed out that the Gary Kirsten-coached side needed to assemble a balanced squad as per the conditions.

"When playing in front of your own supporters, you ideally need to be able to play in consistence and predictable playing conditions... and to assemble a playing squad with the skills to thrive in these conditions... and to develop a game plan to suit these conditions... and, notwithstanding the pressure, to execute the plan with conviction and clarity," he added.

Lastly, the right-handed batsman quoted Roman Orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, explaining how his words make sense even today.

"His words uttered two thousand years ago still ring true from Chennai to Mumbai and beyond. "Quid enimsanctius, quid omnireligionemunitius, quamdomusunusquisquecivium. For cricketing folk, these words could be roughly translated as: If you want to succeed in a T20 cricket tournament, you need to win most of your home matches,” concluded De Villiers.

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