Royal Challengers fret over bowling ahead of KKR challenge

  • Siddhartha Sharma, HIndustan Times, Bengaluru
  • Updated: May 02, 2016 14:05 IST
The concern of skipper Virat Kohli and bowling coach Allan Donald is to somehow get the bowling back on track. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

Royal Challengers Bangalore began with a win, but losses since have left them a desperate lot. The concern of skipper Virat Kohli and bowling coach Allan Donald is to somehow get the bowling back on track.

They are second last on the points table. The situation is dire heading into Monday’s game against Kolkata Knight Riders and the team is hoping that England pacer Chris Jordan will arrive and help address the situation.

Credit for the two games RCB have won should go to the batsmen, who have consistently put up big scores. Aussie seamer Kane Richardson had a three-wicket haul against Rising Pune Supergiants but he too has faded away. Against Hyderabad, he began well but later sprayed the ball to go for runs. Poor death bowling has hurt RCB. In six games, they have leaked 309 runs in the last five overs, going for 10.3 runs an over.

Telling numbers

The economy rates of RCB bowlers paint a bleak picture. None has gone for less than eight. This statistic in a T20 game is a good indicator of how bowlers fare. Keeping things tight makes it easier to pick wickets, but when the entire unit leaks runs, bowling becomes defensive.

In 2015, RCB began with two losses with the bowlers going for over 10 runs an over. But Aussie strike bowler Mitchell Starc joined and triggered a turnaround. The left-arm pacer, not available this time following ankle surgery, played 13 games and took 20 wickets at an average of under 15 with an economy rate of 6.76. Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was the highest wicket-taker (23) but went for 8.86 runs an over. In 2014, Starc took 14 wickets, but being his first year in IPL, he was more expensive.

Starc reality

Starc was the fulcrum of RCB bowling in those two seasons. In his absence, pacers Varun Aaron and Harshal Patel have not been able to build pressure. Aaron has an economy rate of 9.50 and Patel has gone for more than ten. Last year, Patel took 17 wickets at an economy rate of 7.48.

A look at their performances last year shows the influence of Starc. This time, neither has been able to help defend totals. On Saturday in Hyderabad, despite getting Shikhar Dhawan early, RCB couldn’t overcome Sunrisers Hyderabad. The hosts lost quick wickets on 150, but RCB’s poor death bowling allowed Sunrisers to reach 193, bringing RCB’s batting under pressure.

Jordan too has been expensive in T20 cricket, but Donald pins hopes on his accuracy and death bowling skills. In the World Twenty20, Jordon went for over eight runs an over but churned out a few good overs at the death.

“Chris has done good things for England for the last 12 months or so. In terms of ODIs and T20s, he has shown why he is one the best death bowlers. He is an attacking bowler, and when it comes to closing up games, he is right there. He is a versatile cricketer, athletic, a good fielder, and can hit the ball as well. We are excited to have him as a very apt replacement for Starc,” Donald said on Friday.

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