In the 14th segment of the IPL this year, we had Royal Challengers Bangalore visiting Rajasthan Royals at their home ground, Jaipur. Both the teams were at the bottom of the table with no wins registered against their names.
The Royal clash began with Rajasthan winning the toss and choosing to field first. RCB opened with Virat Kohli and Parthiv Patel, the same opening pair from their first match of this season. Parthiv Patel displayed excellent performance by scoring 67 (41) where everyone else left the pitch early. The total of the team at the end of 20 overs was 158-4.
Rajasthan started well in the power play overs to score 60 runs at 10.00 r.p.o. and the momentum was successfully carried on by the middle order batsmen. The team was composed throughout the match and cruised towards their first win at the tournament. Rajasthan Royals won the match with seven wickets to spare.
#1 Dropping catches
Team RCB, which was already running low in the tournament faced another defeat tonight. The major reason for it was poor fielding, and dropping catches of set batsmen. A total of 4 catch drops shocked the fans. The first one came very early in the innings when Ajinkya Rahane had edged the ball and was dropped behind the stumps by Navdeep Saini. This gave Rahane a life to add-on more runs on the board.
Next one was of Steven Smith in the 16th and 19th over. He scored a total of 38 runs for the side as two of his catches were dropped. This comedy of errors was again seen on the very next ball only this time as a blessing for R. Tripathi.
From a point where victory could have been theirs to showcasing such poor fielding performance, RCB ensured two points for the opposition yet again!
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#2 Alterations in the batting order
The Kohli contingent's batting order changed for the fourth time, in the past four games. Nothing seems to be working for them now. Even after trying 3 opening combinations, and applying several changes in the middle order, the batting unit keeps collapsing in each match they play.
This time Kohli opened with Parthiv, AB de Villiers came 1 down followed by Hetmyer. The batsmen played too slow which didn't help the visitors to keep the scoreboard ticking. The opening pair seemed to be placing the ball in the right spots and the middle order could not capitalize on the aggressive start. Stoinis, however, played a sensible inning to help the team cross the 150+ run mark. Moeen Ali who came down in today's game helped him from the other end.
The team management needs to find a once and for all cure for this issue in order to turn the results ahead into their favor.
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#3 Poor captaincy by Kohli
Captain Kohli seems to be failing at every front while managing the team on the field.
Introduction of a spinner in the early overs could have been a real game-changing decision and might have turned the fate of the side. The RR skipper brought in a spinner well in time to block the attack of the opposing team but the same process was missed by Kohli. Had he brought in a spinner in the power play overs, it would have helped them to stop Jos Buttler's flying start.
Placement of fielders needed to be effective. The replacement of Navdeep Saini might have been a hit as the dropped catch would have ended the other way round and showing Rahane the pavilion in the very second over. All these factors added on to the ongoing stir of Kohli being an inefficient captain for this side in IPL.
These are the areas which helped RR in winning their maiden match in this tournament and forcing RCB to continue on the hunt to score on the points table for the tournament.