The Royal Challengers Bangalore have started IPL 2017 on a poor note, losing four of their five matches, with their latest loss coming against Rising Pune Supergiant at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.
The pitch in Bengaluru looked much better, with the ball coming onto the bat nicely. RPS, who were asked to bat first by RCB skipper Virat Kohli, scored 161 runs, but the home team, despite possessing a strong batting unit, could not reach the target.
RPS won the match by 27 runs, which was their second victory in IPL 2017. It was a disciplined performance from the visitors, which saw them through.
Here are some talking points from the match
Over dependent on Kohli-De Villiers
Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers are two of the best players in world cricket today, and RCB are dependent on them for magical performances, most of the times. Both the players got good starts, but they could not convert that into winning scores against RPS.
The duo won a number of matches last season with the bat, and they cannot deliver the goods in each match, each season. Other players also need to learn the art of winning when the duo fail to help them cross the finish line.
RCB lack firepower in the lower/middle order
Most of the IPL 2017 teams have some big hitters in their ranks in the lower-middle order, but unfortunately RCB lack such player. One might say Shane Watson, but he is certainly past his prime. RPS have Ben Stokes, MI (KIeron Pollard), DD (Chris Morris), KXIP (Marcus Stoinis). RCB have to depend on the likes of Pawan Negi and Stuart Binny, and they are no doubt good players, but they are not someone, who will instill fear amongst opponents with their hitting.
RPS' pacers shine
This IPL 2017 might have been wonderful for leg-spinners, but it was different for RPS as their pacers were brilliant with the ball in Bengaluru. The RPS got their bowling combination right, playing only one regular spinner in the form of Imran Tahir. Rest were all seamers, and they delivered the goods. Stokes and Shardul Thakur took three wickets while Jaydev Unadkat scalped two as well. These seamers took wickets at regular intervals to play an important role in helping their team emerge victorious.
Brilliant Manoj Tiwary with the bat
The Bengal batsman, can be said, was the unsung hero of the match as it was his innings of 27 runs from 11 balls, which helped RPS cross 160 runs. With a strike rate of 245 against RCB, he looked in majestic touch. He has been a consistent player for RPS this season, scoring 40, 31 and 27 runs. However, the problem being, Tiwary has batted lower down the order for RPS, not allowing him many balls to play. Though RPS have some big batsmen in their squad, including Smith, the team think tank need to find a higher batting spot for him.
RPS' batting collapse, thankfully, did not cost them the match
RPS were inching towards a great total, with well set MS Dhoni and Steve Smith at the middle and four overs remaining. However, things went from good to worse in no time as they crumbled from 127 for the loss of two wickets to 130-7, which included the wickets of Dhoni, Smith, Stokes and Dan Christian. Thankfully for RPS, such collapse did not hurt them much if one looks at the match result.