Royal Challengers Bangalore’s campaign faced a minor setback on Thursday when the side faced an 8-wicket defeat to the bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020. Scoring 171/6 in 20 overs, the RCB bowlers failed to step up as former RCB players KL Rahul and Chris Gayle steered the Punjab side to a much-needed victory.
The RCB will now be taking on the Rajasthan Royals on Saturday in their first match of the double-header weekend. The RR batsmen were outclassed by Delhi Capitals in their previous match and face a must-win game today, as a loss could seriously deter their chances to make the playoff stage in the tournament.
RCB’s five wins so far include a Super Over triumph over Mumbai Indians here at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The Royals, on the other hand, lie at the seventh spot in the points table with just three wins from eight outings.
Against KXIP in Sharjah, AB De Villiers, who has been in fine form, was sent in to bat at number six, a baffling decision by the RCB. Left-hander Washington Sundar (13) and Shivam Dube (23) were promoted up the order to accompany skipper Kohli in the middle.
The experiment didn’t work as all three batsmen struggled with the South African scoring just two off five balls.
To add to RCB’s woes, while defending the total, Kohli decided to save the in-form Sundar for the big-hitting Chris Gayle, who came to bat in the eighth over.
That gamble didn’t pay off either as the 41-year-old Jamaican smashed the young off-spinner for four sixes.
“We had a chat, a message from outside about left-right combination and we wanted to go with it because they had two leggies. Sometimes things don’t come off. We’re pretty happy with the decisions we took, but it didn’t come off,” Kohli said after the match.
However, Kohli and his men will look to shrug off the defeat.
The Royals, meanwhile, produced an impressive bowling performance with Jofra Archer stepping up for the side again against Delhi Capitals, restricting the table-toppers to 161/7 in 20 overs. But their batting woes continued as the top-order failed to step up, with the heavy guns like Jos Buttler, Steve Smith and Sanju Samson struggling to spend time on the crease.
After failing in his first match of the season, Ben Stokes, who has been elevated to the role of an opener, hit 41 before he was run out against the Delhi Capitals.
The inaugural season champions have relied on Rahul Tewatia to rescue them from precarious positions and the all-rounder managed to do that twice against KXIP and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. But he failed against the Capitals when yet again the top-order botched an easy run-chase.
Jofra Archer spearheads the Rajasthan bowling unit, along with the spin duo of Tewatia and Shreyas Gopal, who have consistently figured in an XI that has gone through a lot of chopping and changing.
RCB: Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel (wk), Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Pawan Negi, Isuru Udana, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Pavan Deshpande, Adam Zampa.
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Andrew Tye, Kartik Tyagi, Steven Smith (c), Ankit Rajpoot, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Riyan Parag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Akash Singh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Shashank Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Robin Uthappa, Aniruddha Joshi, Jofra Archer.