RCB exit without a fight

Batting comes a cropper as play-off quest ends for Kohli's men

RCB exit without a fight

Royal Challengers Bangalore stayed true to their script this season as they crashed out of the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League after another horrendous batting display.

After restricting Rising Pune Supergiant to a gettable 157/3, the Royal Challengers could only manage 96/9 to suffer an embarrassing 61-run defeat here at the MCA Stadium on Saturday.

After their bowlers came up with a decent performance upon winning the toss, RCB batsmen produced a batting show that was more sluggish than the pitch on offer on the day. As has been their wont this season, their much-vaunted willow wielders surrendered meekly. Notwithstanding Virat Kohli’s 48-ball 55, RCB couldn’t even cross the three-figure mark.   

Opening in place of a dropped Chris Gayle, Travis Head lasted five balls. AB de Villiers was dismissed for his third single digit score in a row when he played straight to Manoj Tiwary at covers. Kedar Jadhav, the one batsman who has been some kind of form, was run out after a horrible mix-up with Kohli. Trying to steal a single off a misfield, Jadhav was sent back by his skipper by which time he was at the non-striker’s end. The mix-up was symptomatic of the muddle that RCB find themselves in at the moment. Sachin Baby and Stuart Binny, two of the three changes for the match, too departed in quick time.

Playing in place of Ben Stokes, Lockie Ferguson was impressive during one of the most economical bowling spells in a T20 match (4-1-7-2) while Imran Tahir proved equally effective with his figures of 3/18. With this win, Pune (10 points) consolidated their position at fourth place, only one point separating them from the third-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad.       

Supergiant’s first half of the innings progressed at a slow pace. Only 67 runs came for the loss of both the openers as all the RCB bowlers, barring Yuzvendra Chahal, bowled with control and discipline in the first 10 overs. Adam Milne, returning for Gayle, gave little away upfront while Samuel Badree drew first blood to remove Ajinkya Rahane for another low score. His partner Rahul Tripathi continued his good run with a brisk 37 (28b, 4x4, 1x6) even as Smith took some time to get into the rhythm.

After labouring to 69/2 in 11 overs, Pune got the required push in 12th over bowled by Badree who leaked 16 runs, the only blip in his otherwise economical spell (4-0-31-1). The next over by Chahal went for 13 as the hosts appeared to break the shackles. Exactly 50 came off 33 balls for the third wicket between Smith and Manoj Tiwary (44, 35b, 4x4, 1x6) but the momentum was halted with Binny getting the prized scalp of Pune skipper.

The dismissal of an on-song Smith, however, did little to dampen the spirits of Pune fans who brought the roof down with their roars in anticipation of MS Dhoni’s imminent arrival. The former India skipper didn’t disappoint capacity crowd, essaying a couple of lusty blows during his unbeaten 21 (17b, 1x4, 1x6). Together with Tiwary, he added 49 in 37 balls for the unbroken fourth wicket to take Pune to a competitive total which eventually turned out to be winning one by some distance.

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