'Need to work on bowling at the death'

'Need to work on bowling at the death'

The Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling unit, under the stewardship of R Vinay Kumar, has punched above its weight on a few occasions in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League, anchoring the team’s victories.

Vinay’s excellent final over against Mumbai Indians in their opening match of the tournament offers a brilliant example of that. But on a couple of occasions they also have shown a distinct weakness while bowling in the death overs. Against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Vinay had managed to bowl another superb last over while defending just six runs, forcing the match into the Super Over.

But he couldn’t repeat that heroics in the one-over Eliminator, getting clobbered by Cameron White for two sixes that eventually turned the tide against Royal Challengers. The death overs issue reared its ugly head again against the Super Kings at Chepauk. The Bangalore bowlers had, in fact, done well to keep Chennai’s target down to 16 runs off the last over despite Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s pyrotechniques.
However, Rudra Pratap Singh conceded a four and six to Ravindra Jadeja in successive balls that narrowed the margin and his no-ball off the last ball sealed the match in favour of Super Kings. Ravi Rampaul, who made an impressive debut for Royal Challengers against Super Kings with a three-wicket haul, admitted it’s an area that they needed to work on in the coming matches.

“We have definitely been having some problems in the death overs. Any bowler has to come and deliver at the death. The execution was not all that well. So, it is something that we need to work on. Once we get that right all our performances will be lifted,” said the Windies pacer.

Rampaul, who came in for Muttiah Muralitharan in the match against Chennai, also said he would like to bowl at the death, should he get a chance. “I am comfortable bowling at all times of the innings. Whatever the captain and the bowler decide, the execution is the key. There are a lot of games coming up and so there are lot of opportunities,” he said.

Rampaul hoped the change of venue would bring better luck for Royal Challengers bowlers. “My past experience in Bangalore shows it is a good wicket for bowlers. Again, it’s all about how you execute your plans,” he said.

Vinay also admitted that bowling at the death was a tough art. “Death bowling is very difficult actually. When you are up against big hitters like Cameron White and MS Dhoni, it is like six times out of ten the result will go the other way," added the Karnataka skipper.

The biggest blow Royal Challengers suffered coming into this edition of the IPL was the absence of Zaheer Khan, who hasn’t played a match after the Ranji Trophy game against Gujarat in January. A calf injury has forced him to warm the benches since then.

The Royal Challengers have missed a canny bowler, whose variations and ability to bowl yorkers at death could have made a difference in those crunch situations. The injury to Zaheer has also robbed them of someone who can guide other bowlers. However, Rampaul said even while sitting out Zaheer has been passing on lot of tips to the bowlers. “We speak to him a lot and it has been a good experience for us.”
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