After Kolkata Knight Riders thwarted Rising Pune Supergiant in their previous match at the MCA Stadium on Wednesday, skipper Steven Smith would look to cash in on a disheartened Royal Challengers Bangalore when they clash in their IPL 2017 match on Saturday.
While Smith is still shouldering bulk of the responsibility for Rising Pune Supergiant in the batting department with 275 runs in seven innings, it is their bowling in the death overs, which is a major issue. Of the eight teams, Rising Pune Supergiant have the second-worst performance in the death overs --- they have conceded on an average 12 runs per over.
The reason Sunrisers Hyderabad won the IPL last season was because of their bowling in the death overs.
Against Mumbai Indians in their opening match, RPS conceded 64 runs in the last five overs. Against Kings XI Punjab, 61 runs were given away in the last seven overs as Glenn Maxwell wrapped up the match in the 19th over.
Rising Pune Supergiant’s worst death-bowling performance was against Delhi Daredevils at home when 82 runs were conceded in the last five overs, and they succumbed to a 97-run defeat.
Smith’s wayward bowlers conceded 79 runs in the last six overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad, while Kolkata Knight Riders went on the rampage in their previous match here where RPS lost the plot between the seventh and 16th overs, as 117 runs were plundered by Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa to comfortably chase down the 183-run target.
Only on two occasions have Rising Pune Supergiant done a decent job in the death overs, leading to a positive outcome. RPS gave away only 42 runs in their last five overs against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chinnaswamy Stadium to win by 27 runs, defending a modest 161. RPS again successfully defended 160/6 against Mumbai Indians where they conceded only 44 runs in the last five overs at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday to win by three runs.
Meanwhile, Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have five matches left, are facing an uphill task to qualify for the playoffs after suffering six losses in nine matches. The crushing defeat by Gujarat Lions at home has further damaged their qualification chances.
To make matters worse, RCB’s next two matches are away games, against Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians. Kohli & Co have won just one away match (against Gujarat Lions) out of four.
While RCB have been outplayed in almost all departments on most occasions, their poor show in the batting powerplay -- scoring below seven runs per over -- has done most of the damage. To add to it, they have not been able to capitalise on the first six overs either.