For all the hard work Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli has put in as a batsman, his bowlers have been a big letdown. Now, Kohli’s litany of woes include fumbling fielders.
On Saturday, against MS Dhoni’s struggling Rising Pune Supergiants, Kohli’s bowlers weren’t any better, and his fielders allowed the visitors to cross 190 for only the second time this season.
After getting well-set opener Usman Khawaja through a run-out, RCB players dropped a couple of sitters, missed a stumping and fumbled on the outfield to leak runs.
Since no other bowler managing to restrict runs in the powerplay phase, Kohli called up Varun Aaron in the sixth over. After Saurabh Tiwary caressed him through cover for a boundary, Aaron bowled the next delivery wider.
Tiwary sliced it to extra cover where Stuart Binny dropped the chance. Aaron then banged it short and wide and Tiwary could not control his cut shot, but Sachin Baby dropped the chance.
Aaron was consoled by Kohli. Tiwary was on 19 when he got the reprieves and RPS were on 52/1. Having conceded 12 runs in that over, he banged the first ball of his next over short to Ajinkya Rahane, who top-edged it. Aaron ran back to take the catch but Shane Watson too set off for it. Neither called and the ball fell in between them. Rahane was on 27 and RPS were 67/1 in seven overs.
Tiwary (52 off 39 balls) gratefully accepted a third chance on 25. Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s slower delivery deceived the batsman but keeper KL Rahul failed to collect and Tiwary regained his crease.
RCB are not playing regular keeper Kedar Jadhav and Rahul is doing the job in addition to his role as opener. But that has hurt them. In the previous game against KKR, Andre Russell punished the bowling after Rahul missed his stumping.
On Saturday, Travis Head piled on more misery on RCB when he misfielded a Tiwary sweep off Chahal to concede a four. Then it was Parvez Rasool’s turn, Aaron the bowler again. Rahane and Tiwary scored at ten an over, hitting half-centuries and raising a 106-run partnership.
So far, it has never looked like RCB’s batting and bowling are part of the same squad.
But for Watson striking thrice late in the innings, Pune Sunrisers would have posted their first total of 200.