IPL 2019: Royal Challengers Bangalore bowlers under fire as another poor finish looms
Just before this Indian Premier League edition, Virat Kohli exhorted his Royal Challengers Bangalore team mates to ‘show the spirit to fight against all odds’ and overturn the dismal record of the star-studded lineup.
After Sunday’s loss to hosts Delhi Capitals all Kohli had to say was “we can only focus on having fun, that’s what we decided to do…be positive.”
“We don’t want to take too much pressure. The fun factor should never go away, we still got two games and we’ll work hard. We’ll go out there, play expressive cricket and be positive. When we’re done with the two games, we’ll sit down and see (make an assessment),” Kohli said at the presentation on Sunday.
In between those two statements, the bottom-placed RCB won just four out of 12 games. They face Rajasthan Royals here on Tuesday with their playoff hopes all but over.
While Royals (10 points in 12 games) need to win their last two games by big margins and hope other results go their way to make it to the playoffs, RCB (8 points) face a more difficult situation.
The change in Kohli’s tone is thus understandable. Before this season, two factors contributed to RCB’s failure were the lack of batting support for Kohli and AB de Villiers, and their death-over bowling. On both fronts, RCB have not found a proper answer.
Apart from Kohli and de Villiers, Parthiv Patel has been a top performing batsman. But they have never really fired in unison consistently. RCB had bought Shimron Hetmyer with great hope but the young West Indies batsman has failed to fire. With the others too blowing hot and cold, RCB never soared batting-wise.
When batsmen fail, the bowlers must cover up. But their bowling has been worse.
Against Delhi Capitals, Navdeep Saini and Umesh Yadav gave away 36 runs in the last two overs as the hosts scored 187/5.
RCB bowling coach Ashish Nehra was blunt in his assessment. “When they were five down, the bowlers missed a trick, especially the way Navdeep and Umesh bowled the last two overs; 36 are too many runs, it can happen in Mumbai, Bangalore on flat wickets, here (Ferozeshah Kotla) not so, may be 18-20 runs with DC five wickets down. As a fast bowling unit, we never had a complete game,” he said.
In fact, Saini, with his express pace, is being spoken of as an India prospect while Umesh was RCB’s best bowler last year with 20 scalps.