Virat Kohli wages a lone battle as RCB succumb to their third defeat of the season
What promised to be a high profile affair between teams on the lower end of the table, turned into a completely one sided affair as RCB lose their third game of the season.
RCB started off things brightly with Kohli playing some crisp shots and de Kock started brightly too, hitting Mustafizur for a four and a six in an over. But like most his innings this season, de Kock’s innings ended without much substance as McClenaghan cleaned him up. De Villiers came in at no.3 as Bangalore tried to press the accelerator but McClenaghan got the big fish AB. Mandeep Singh who played a good cameo last game walked into the middle with his team in crisis. The boundaries dried up after the powerplay and Kohli and Mandeep couldn’t do anything more than rotating the strike as Rohit Sharma kept the game in check with his spinners. Mandeep soon fell to Krunal Pandya stumped by Ishan Kishan trying to charge down the crease to up the ante. Former Mumbai Indians player Corey Anderson went for a big hit in his first ball but couldn’t time it properly and was caught in deep midwicket giving Krunal 2 in 2 with the required run rate nearing 14 with 10 overs left. Washington Sundar promoted up the order, perished soon and the game was getting out of RCB’s hands.
There was a brief moment of panic as Ishan Kishan was hit just below the eye from a Hardik Pandya throw that bounced awkwardly before being replaced by Aditya Tare. Sarfaraz Khan followed the footsteps of his fellow batsmen to the pavilion stumped off Markande to give him the purple cap. From then on, Virat’s only motive was to get as close as possible to the Mumbai Indians’ score to avoid the Net Run Rate taking a massive hit. Kohli who anchored the innings on one end all this time became the leading run scorer in IPL history and fell 8 short of a century. He also got the orange cap but the pressure on his shoulders were too much to handle at the end and RCB needed more from the other batsmen too to chase down a target over 200.
Virat Kohli asked MI to bat first in a typical Wankhede pitch and made an array of changes to the side by bringing in Sarfraz Khan, Siraj and Corey Anderson in for Pawan Negi, Khejroliya and McCullum respectively. MI made one change from their previous game by swapping Dananjaya with Mitch McClenaghan. Umesh Yadav answered his captain’s call by bowling with serious pace and accuracy to breach the defense of Surya Kumar Yadav and getting through the gates of Ishan Kishan to give RCB a dream start. Rohit Sharma who faced questions on his own indifferent form joined Evin Lewis in the center. Evin Lewis then took the attack to RCB with Rohit Sharma settling in slowly like his usual self. 12 runs of Woakes’ first over, 19 of Washington Sundar and 16 of Mohammed Siraj took MI’s powerplay score to 60 and they looked set to go big from there despite the loss of 2 wickets. Evin Lewis was at his ruthless best toying against fast bowlers and spinners alike and brought up his 50. He then fell to Corey Anderson in the quest for quick runs not before he and Rohit added 108 runs and Krunal Pandya joined his captain.
Rohit Sharma changed gears and after Lewis was dismissed, he took the mantle and kept on going to bring up his 50 in 32 balls. Krunal Pandya scored 15 before he fell short of his crease. Kieron Pollard never got his timing right and he was caught by AB de Villiers off Woakes for 5. Hardik Pandya who seemed to nick one behind to de Kock but was ruled not out after going for a review, much to the anger of Kohli hit 2 sixes to take MI past 190 in the penultimate over.Rohit Sharma who found himself at the crease in the first over despite playing as a no.4 did what he does so often in the blue jersey. He destroyed Corey Anderson in the final over and was all set to bring up a century before he holed out in the deep and Hardik Pandya finished things off to set RCB a daunting target of 214.
There aren’t much positives in a demoralizing loss like this but whenever Umesh Yadav has been given the new ball in the powerplay, he has been mightily impressive with his speed and control though Kohli would want him to be better in the death. Chris Woakes held the purple cap for a short time but his economy is over 10 and the RCB management would equally want that to improve as well. De Kock looked good while he was at the crease but Bangalore need plenty from their overseas keeper if they are to progress further in the tournament. With 2 half centuries in as many games and the orange cap, Kohli’s form would provide RCB some console though.
What’s next for RCB?
RCB don’t play till Saturday when they take on fellow strugglers Delhi Daredevils before facing the Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday in back to back home games. Kohli will look to solve his bowling problems and his team selection will be one to keep a close eye on. There is a chance he may replace Anderson with De Grandhomme or revert back to McCullum. Mohammed Siraj maybe ditched for Khejroliya or Murugan Ashwin, who may get a chance in the upcoming games.