A defeat is always a worry for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. It tends to push them down a spiral. A string of failures and their IPL 2020 campaign is as good as over. So captain Virat Kohli will be keen to avoid that nightmare scenario after the loss to Kings XI Punjab.
For RCB, a lot is riding on Season 13 of the Indian Premier League. They have come to the UAE with plenty of expectations. And foremost among them is to erase the bitter memories of last season, where they finished at the bottom for the second time (the first was in 2017).
One of their weak links has always been the bowling, particularly in the slog overs. The signing of fast bowlers Chris Morris, Isuru Udana and Kane Richardson was to address that problem. Richardson was unable to join the squad, while Morris and Udana haven’t been able to nudge Dale Steyn for a place in the team.
For all his dazzling skills, Steyn has often conceded plenty of runs at the death. He still hasn’t figured out the last three overs. That’s what the KL Rahul assault shows. The loss to Kings XI Punjab clearly highlights RCB’s perennial problem, which the RCB brains trust is still trying to resolve. So we may see some changes in future games.
Spin is secure in the hands of India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. The dismissal of Mayank Agarwal and the pressure in the middle overs reflect the efficacy of the RCB’s spinners. The pacemen have to lift their game to make early inroads in the rival batting.
Catches still win matches
Fielding too is an area of concern. Admitted, the players are coming off a long lay-off and can’t expect them to be at their best. Catches win matches, that cricket adage is so true. Kohli and his team would have realised that on Thursday. So you can be sure the RCB training sessions will have extended fielding practice.
The batting collapse, that’s not a distress signal. It’s the fallout of a chase full of intent. When you chase a target of over 200, a strong start is an absolute necessity. But the problem with strong starts is that it’s a double-edged weapon. It can be disastrous when it doesn’t work, and that’s what happened with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
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Full marks for RCB. It should be taken as a positive since they made an honest effort to win. They even threw the kitchen sink at the target. It didn’t work. So what? At least they tried. That’s heartwarming especially since it came soon after Chennai Super Kings’ attempt to maintain the Net Run Rate in a losing game against Rajasthan Royals.
The run rate may matter in the end. But why would anyone lose without trying to win? This is sport. Everyone plays to win. You may lose when you try to win, but that shouldn’t matter. That’s the nature of sport.
Kohli and RCB deserve to be applauded for their effort. They may have lost badly, but they tried. A 16-run loss and a 97-run loss is the same for the supporters. A loss is a loss. How you pick yourselves up is what matters. That’s what RCB have to do. These are the early days. There’s still to time regroup, repair and relaunch.
RCB should play bold. The Bold Army (their supporters) are waiting.