Another tale of missed opportunities for RCB

Another tale of missed opportunities for RCB

Game against SRH showed their muddled thinking

ALL GLOOM The RCB dug-out presents a picture of dejection after their defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday. PTI

It was once again a season of missed opportunities for Royal Challengers Bangalore who, for all practical purposes, are out of contention for the play-offs of this edition’s Indian Premier League.

Skipper Virat Kohli was right in saying that his team didn’t deserve to win against Sunrisers Hyderabad after the Bengaluru outfit made a mess of what was an eminently achievable target notwithstanding the twin challenges of a sluggish pitch and the strongest attack in the league.

"We were not good enough and not up to the mark,” rued Kohli after the five-run defeat all but extinguished their hopes of play-offs. “We deserved to lose this game. We didn't show enough application. The kind of shots we played were not on at that stage. This has been the story of our season," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

A team that appeared to have covered all its bases in terms of composition after a disastrous 2017 season, is almost in a similar situation now. This only drives home the point that you can have all the big names in the world you want but when you step on to the field, it’s the hunger to succeed and the will to fight that are crucial and not the players’ reputations.       

No team embodies this character more than Hyderabad. When almost all teams in the league have built their teams around big-hitting batsmen, SRH have gone for a bowling-heavy team. And on Monday night, Siddarth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar defended 25 runs from 18 balls to prove their strategy right.

"If you have strong characters, you will always do well,” Kohli emphasised. “SRH had a few guys who did well under pressure, that's been the story of their season. They understand strengths, know their limitations. That's why they've been successful," he offered.

In a highly competitive tournament like this, the margin for error is bare minimum. A bad over, a missed catch, a no-ball at the wrong time and a reckless shot at a crucial stage can turn the match on its head. And Bangalore were guilty of committing many such mistakes almost on a regular basis thus far. If it was their profligacy with the ball in the initial part when they couldn’t defend even totals above 200, fielding lapses cost them dear in some other matches.

As if these two shortcomings weren’t enough, their biggest strength – batting – too has floundered repeatedly to derail their campaign. Neither the foreign recruits nor the Indian players are stepping up to the plate to do the job for them. Monday’s chase against Hyderabad held mirror to their muddled thinking and lack of confidence.

What should have been a smooth chase turned out to be a disaster as batsman after batsman played shots that did little to enhance their high standing. When swallowing egos and playing to the situation was the need of the hour on a slow pitch, RCB batsmen appeared to take their tagline – “play bold” – rather seriously and paid the price for it.

With little hope of making the cut for the last four, the least RCB can do – for the sake of their legion of fans – is get some wins under their belt and finish the league in an honourable manner.