The Royal Challengers Bangalore generally haven't been particularly great at the beginning of an IPL. With RCB winning their season opener for the first time in 3 years, one would've thought that things were changing within the team. However, a lot of those hopes would've diminished after the horrendous outing they had against Kings XI Punjab.
The Virat Kohli-led squad started well in the first innings. However, some unacceptable mistakes from RCB ensured that KXIP go well past the par score. KL Rahul, the Kings XI skipper, tore the RCB bowling apart en route his blistering unbeaten knock of 132 (69).
RCB, in response, went through a dramatic top-order collapse, which saw the score at 4 for the loss of 3 wickets in the third over. Eventually, the Bengaluru franchise was bundled out for 109.
Here, we explore the reasons for the loss that was handed to Kolhi's squad, chronologically.
1. Misreading of the pitch
That's right. RCB's bad outing began right at the toss when they won and chose to bowl first. Virat Kohli at the toss claimed that the pitch was a good one to bat on, but that the bowlers would struggle to grip the ball in the second innings with the dew factor coming into play.
However, the trend in this season of the IPL has shown that sides batting first have ended up winning more often than not. RCB themselves were found to be on the winning side in their previous clash against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, after losing the toss and being asked to bat first.
The trend and their own experience in the first game is something that RCB could have learned from, and thus, given themselves a better chance at winning the game.
2. Virat Kohli dropping KL Rahul - TWICE
Kohli's mistakes on the field are certain to haunt a fielder of the RCB captain's quality for some time to come. An on-song KL Rahul hardly offers any opportunities for dismissal, so when he does, teams need to take them with both hands - literally and figuratively.
Rahul was on 83, as Dale Steyn ran in to bowl the 17th over. A skyward shot went straight to Kohli, who made a mess of it and gave Rahul a lifeline. In the next over, RCB fans would've breathed a sigh of relief as Rahul lofted the ball skyward again. The ball went out of skipper Kohli's hands as quickly as it came in. Rahul was on 89 at the time.
He went on to smash the bowlers all around the park in the remaining two overs and took KXIP's score to a formidable 206. Kohli's drop catch, if we count from the first instance, cost RCB nearly 50 runs. The extra runs added to Punjab's total after the captain's mistakes would certainly have played a psychological role in RCB's run-chase.
Check the IPL 2020 purple cap list here.
3. Sending Josh Phillippe at number 3
Normally, while chasing a daunting target, one would assume that a team wants their best batsmen up-front to face as many deliveries as possible. This would have made the opposition cautious, especially when it is players like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers that we're talking about.
This is further emphasised when the team has lost an early wicket and is in trouble. With the score being 2 when RCB lost Devdutt Padikkal, Josh Phillippe walked out to bat instead of the IPL's leading run-scorer of all time, Virat Kohli.
Although he did have a breakthrough Big Bash League season, Phillippe is only two matches old in the IPL. The Australian had faced just the two balls in his first game against SRH. If all of this is considered, it still comes across as a tactical mistake when you send in a 23-year-old ahead of someone as adept at run-chases as Virat Kohli is.
The mistake of sending Phillippe at number 3 was almost immediately realised, as he played panicked cricket for two balls before being trapped in-front with a seed from Shami. This left the score at 3 for the loss of two wickets, with skipper Kohli coming in to manage just one run before he too walked back to the pavilion.
After a small bit of resistance from de Villiers, Washington Sundar, and Shivam Dube, the Royal Challengers saw themselves bowled out for a meagre 109. While there are other factors for the loss such as RCB's death bowling, these probably stand as the most important.