When Virat Kohli ran back from point and completed an excellently judged catch to send back Warriors opener Jon Jon Smuts in Bangalore on Friday night, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) looked on their way to matching the South African side in the field.
Off the fourth ball after the dismissal, Kohli made another good stop, got up and fired it at the non-striker’s end hoping to catch Ashwell Prince short of his ground. He missed and Abhimanyu Mithun at mid-on messed the backing up. The Warriors were gifted four runs when none should have been scored.
That was not the last of the RCB’s lapses in the field (see box). And with Chris Gayle completing a disappointing day by firing in four wides with his off-spin, the hosts did themselves no favours at all.
Warriors skipper Johan Botha had a smile on his face when asked about the freebies given to his side by RCB, which in a tight game probably made all the difference. “Well they’ve just come together after a long break,” was his explanation. However, coming together just before a tournament is something that Indian Premier League teams have to get used to.
RCB skipper Daniel Vettori had far harsher words for his team’s performance in the field. “Probably some sloppy fielding and poor execution with the ball proved costly,” he said. The New Zealand left-arm spinner went for only 26 off four overs and took two wickets. And unlike Gayle, he did not bowl a wide.
Botha said his side’s fielding, too, tapered off towards the end of the innings, when RCB got quite a few runs. However, the captain himself had pulled off a stunner early in the innings, running back from mid-on before back-pedalling to catch a skier from the dangerous Gayle.
“(It was) probably a bit of a fluke. I remember Ian Chappell saying in an earlier match that you shouldn’t try and back-pedal and that you should turn around and go for it. And then I thought that I am making the same mistake here and then I stuck my hand out and the ball stayed in.”