For all their batting might, one reason for Royal Challengers Bangalore not winning the IPL title is the opposing bowling unit catching them off-guard at crucial moments.
Chennai Super Kings have used slow bowlers to trip their power-hitters in the past. On Sunday, Delhi Daredevils skipper Zaheer Khan pointed out after choosing to field that his bowlers would look to tame the lower half of RCB’s batting.
In the end, the Daredevils pace attack finished brilliantly, reining in the host batsmen just when they were about to launch the final assault. RCB seemed set to cross the 200-run mark for the second game after reaching 164 for two in 16 overs. Zaheer had just been taken for 21 runs.
But Mohammed Shami, who made a superb comeback after a long injury lay-off, and South Africa pacer Chris Morris conceded 27 runs in the last four overs. There were just a six and four in that phase, snuffing the momentum out of the innings. Shami returned 2/34.
Once RCB were pegged to 191/5, they were vulnerable on the good M Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch due to their bowling limitations. So it proved as Daredevils cruised to a seven-wicket victory, reaching 192/3 in 19.1 overs.
Quinton de Kock struck the first century of IPL 9, including a 48-ball century, to help Daredevils pull off their second win in a row, after crushing Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets on Friday.
The South Africa star (108 -- 51 balls, 15x4, 3x6) dominated in a 134-run third wicket stand with Karun Nair (54 no -- 42 balls).
VIRAT-DE VILLIERS SHOW
Chris Gayle may be just one innings from a big knock, but the wait continues. After falling for one against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their opener, Zaheer drew him into a tentative poke to slip in the first over.
Virat Kohli (79 – 48 b, 7x4, 3x6) and AB de Villiers (33 b, 9x4, 1x6) took over as they did against Sunrisers, raising their second successive century stand. They added 107 runs off 62 balls, taking apart spinners Pawan Negi and Amit Mishra.
But Carlos Brathwaite gave the big break in the 12th over as De Villiers holed out to long-on. Shami outfoxed Shane Watson (33 – 19 b) with a bouncer into his body and Kohli with a slower one. Morris didn’t pick a wicket, but his variety and change of pace were invaluable.
THE RELAY CATCH
Pacer Sreenath Aravind gave RCB the worst possible start with an eight-ball over, but Shreyas Iyer’s hit off the last delivery was chased down and caught by Shane Watson, who threw it back as the momentum was carrying him across the boundary. David Wiese, following him, dived and caught, just avoiding the boundary.
De Kock, who hit 59 not out in the win over Kings XI, held firm after Watson removed Sanju Samson, but Karun exposed RCB’s bowling.