RCB's death-bowling a big concern

In an era when the pitches are placid, boundaries are shorter and batsmen have mastered an array of inventive shots to meet the demands of T20 cricket, it is imperative for teams to have quality death-bowling options.

Ask Royal Challengers Bangalore who have painfully found out in the last two matches the lack of arsenal during slog overs. It has been an ordinary start for the Challengers, with three losses in four games. With skipper Virat Kohli being gung ho about the balance in the attack, a lot was expected from RCB’s bowling this season. However, the Bengaluru unit’s death bowling has been a major letdown.

“We are getting good starts. Two wickets in two balls against Mumbai and the last Power Play against Rajasthan wasn’t so bad. But our finishing, the ability to close out innings has been poor. That’s purely an execution thing. I think the planning and the strategy it’s all there. We just have to execute better,” said a disappointed RCB coach Daniel Vettori.

Against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians, the amount of runs conceded in the last five overs turned out to be the decisive factor in their defeats. In both games, RCB made promising starts with the ball. But at the death, they squandered the advantage.

From 129/3 after 15 overs, the Royals managed to rake up 217/4 thanks to a blitzkrieg from Sanju Samson who remained unbeaten on 92. RCB gave away 88 runs in the final five overs with Umesh Yadav, RCB’s current best pacer, leaking 27 runs in the last over. Not only was Umesh wayward in his length, the Vidarbha paceman overstepped that resulted in a six off the free-hit.

The script remained the same in the tie on Tuesday against Mumbai at the Wankhede. The platform was set for the defending champions, who were 143/3 with five to go. Umesh and Mohammed Siraj did a decent job in the 17th and 18th, giving away a combined 24 runs. But Chris Woakes bungled.

To Hardik Pandya, against whom the margin of error is less, Woakes bowled the third ball too short and it was sent to the stands. A confident Hardik struck another maximum. After 15 runs were collected in the penultimate over, Corey Anderson, clearly not at his best, bowled two full tosses in the 20th. A well-set Rohit Sharma had no issues in dispatching them to a six and a four. In a brilliant end to the innings, Mumbai got 21 runs of the final over.

Vettori said his batsmen are facing the consequence of poor death bowling. “I think the frustration will be on the back end of our bowling. We need to be better on that front so that the batsmen aren’t chasing so much. When you are chasing so much it puts extreme amount of pressure on how you play,” he added.

With the league appearing to be a battle of equals, RCB mustn’t leave it too late in finding a solution to their problem.  

 

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