Bowling woes spell RCB's defeat

Bowling woes spell RCB's defeat
Gutted beyond words, Virat Kohli cut a forlorn figure on Sunday night even as the victorious Sunrisers Hyderabad players basked under the arc lights.

With 973 runs in the league, the most by a batsman in a season, he won the Orange Cap for the highest run-getter in IPL-9. The 38 sixes that he scored were one more than his team-mate and the second-placed AB de Villiers. He was also declared the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Missing from that list, though, was the honour he covets the most – the Indian Premier League title.

Kohli would have gladly exchanged all his runs, every single six and the individual award to have that trophy which has eluded him for nine editions now. It was his third final with the Royal Challengers Bangalore but he wasn’t to be third time lucky.

“It is a nice incentive for the way we have gone throughout the season, but it doesn't feel really nice on the other side of the results,” Kohli said after accepting the Orange Cap.

“Obviously as a personal achievement, this is very special knowing there are eight teams in the competition with world-class batsmen. It feels nice to have scored more runs than anyone else, more importantly because we reached finals," he noted.

Kohli, who said his record of four centuries in a single season could be broken, lit up IPL-9 along with de Villiers who with 687 runs was the third highest run-getter this season. With Chris Gayle regaining his form towards the business end, RCB rallied in robust fashion to make the play-offs from the brink of early elimination.

Needing to win their last four matches to make the last-four, RCB put on show their batting might that blew away their opponents. Such was the impact of their batting that they were the crowd favourites even in away games. Fans turned up in thousands in RCB colours to cheer their favourite stars. In Bengaluru, though, the crowd acted as the unofficial 12th man; egging them on and lifting their spirits whenever the chips were down. “I mentioned it before the finals that this was for the people of Bengaluru,” said the RCB skipper.

“We wanted to do that for them. They have come out to support us in worst of seasons. I feel gutted that we have not been able to cross the line for them. I know the guys wanted to cross the line. We have reached final twice (before) once in Champions League (2009) as well. We would have loved to be on other side of result," he reasoned.

Bowling had been their weaker link for most part of the tournament, and while it had shown considerable improvement in their last few matches, the attack imploded again at the most inopportune time. When your most trusted bowler – Shane Watson -- goes for a whopping 61 runs in four wicketless overs, it makes a difference between winning and getting closer to win.

RCB did possess the most intimidating batting in the league but chasing over 200 runs in a final against probably the best attack in the league is a difficult proposition. Scoring over 10 runs per over from the start means you can’t take the foot off the pedal at any stage of the game and maintaining the same tempo becomes an arduous ask when you keep losing set batsmen in quick succession. It doesn’t matter you had a 114-run stand for the opening wicket.

“We knew one big partnership would have set the tone for us,” Kohli pointed out. “But me and AB getting out close to each other was a big blow. I was really disappointed to get out at that stage. I knew I had things under control and we would have achieved the target had I stayed with AB a little longer, but this is the way game goes."

From where they were at one stage of the tournament to where they finished, it was more than creditable performance by RCB but, as they say, you don’t win silver, you lose gold.

DH News Service

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