Rising Pune Supergiant v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2017, Pune April 29, 2017

RCB crash to another miserable defeat

124

Rising Pune Supergiant 157 for 3 (Smith 45, Tiwary 44*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 96 for 9 (Kohli 55, Ferguson 2-7) by 61 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Play 03:22
Highlights - RCB's playoff hopes take a beating

Utterly wasteful batting left Royal Challengers Bangalore closer to the brink than ever before in IPL 2017. They needed 158 to win the first of five games Virat Kohli said they had to win to make the play-offs. They did not need a scoreline that read 53 for 5 in the 10th over. But that is what they got. That, and a chastening, morale-killing 61-run defeat.

Rising Pune Supergiant were not complaining. They finally got to defend a total at home and safeguard their position at fourth place on the points table.

So what now for RCB? They can, mathematically, still make the final four, but can a team that fell to 49 all out, a team that will lose AB de Villiers in the coming weeks, a team that tops the charts in run-outs (7), single-digit scores (40) and scoring slowly in the Powerplay (6.64) stop the rot in time?

The hitter

Rahul Tripathi has shouldered considerable responsibility in his first IPL season. He is expected to take advantage of fielding restrictions in the Powerplay, which by itself is not an unreasonable demand. But the 26-year old has also had to make up for his partner's struggles. Ajinkya Rahane's strike-rate of 123 is the lowest among openers with 100 or more runs in this IPL and today he fell early as well, sweeping a full toss to short fine leg.

RCB might have thought that gave them the advantage. After all, Tripathi did not even play the 2017 domestic T20 tournament. But on a grander stage, against tougher bowlers, he has now smashed six straight 30-plus scores - an unmatched tally - and specifically in the first six overs, he has 198 runs - another unmatched tally - hitting a boundary every 3.71 balls.

A see-saw innings

Pune collected 43 runs in the Powerplay, but only 26 in the next five overs, hitting only one four. This was because they had to deal with a dry pitch and a set of RCB players swearing by their slower balls. Another thing that worked for Kohli was his use of Pawan Negi. The left-arm spinner has bowled 120 balls this season - 103 of them have been to right-handers. They have also contributed to seven of his eight wickets, Tripathi the latest to succumb for 37 off 28 balls. Negi finished with 1 for 18, equalling his most economical spell of four overs in IPL history.

© ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The splutter

It seems par for the course for Pune to potter along between the seventh and 14th overs: since they came into being in 2016, their run-rate of 7.55 in this phase has been the slowest among all teams. Only this year, it might actually be their plan, considering Manoj Tiwary's form, MS Dhoni's reputation, and the Ben Stokes investment. Against RCB, they had the first two on call but not the third. So Steven Smith smacked Samuel Badree for 6, 4, 4 in the 12th over and Pune had suddenly found 29 runs in two overs.

RCB did well to pull things back, taking pace off the ball against Tiwary, and tucking Dhoni up by bowling into his body. In the slog overs, when batsmen are solely thinking boundaries, those were sound plans. The last of the sound plans.

RCBusted

It began with de Villiers crunching a backfoot drive straight to short cover's hands. Score, 32 for 2. Then Kedar Jadhav was run-out, as he and Kohli looked for an overthrow when the ball was a few little feet away from the bowler. Score, 44 for 3. Sachin Baby chipped a catch to short midwicket. Score, 47 for 4. Stuart Binny top-edged a hook and was caught at long leg. Score, 48 for 5. Trent Woodhill, the batting coach, was sitting in the dugout, watching in pure horror.

Lockie Ferguson, who conceded 44 runs in his only other IPL game, came away with 4-1-7-2 today, including 18 dots, the highest for the season. Now that suggests he was terrifying, but he wasn't. Then did Smith funk it up with his fields? No. The pitch wasn't playing tricks either. There was no evidence to suggest every RCB batsman barring Kohli would only manage single-digits.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter_The_Average on May 2, 2017, 19:41 GMT

    It is not Kohli's captaincy that is at fault, it is the team composition. Too many batters, not enough bowlers, a common theme in Indian cricket. Next year one of Kohli, Gayle or de Villiers has to be given the flick and a top flight bowler comes in for that money saved.

  •   FahimAhmed(BengaliBangladeshicricketfan) on April 30, 2017, 16:57 GMT

    Worst batting performances being displayed by RCB than any other seasons.I am from Bangladesh.

  • Vpd23 on April 30, 2017, 14:05 GMT

    Rag Team! consisting of Dhoni, Smith,??! Except for Dinda (pure trash) rest are all doing good. just about! Cheers!!

  • ALLROUNDCRICKET on April 30, 2017, 13:39 GMT

    RCB miss Pace & Aggression in their bowling. They need the Pace of Aniket Sharma. With the 4 overseas stars of Gayle, ABD Watson & Badree picking themselves up they neeed a bowler at 140 kmph + to rattle the opposition. That man is ANIKET CHOWDHARY.

  • Smudga on April 30, 2017, 9:29 GMT

    hard to believe , a ragtag team RPS , has made it to top 4 !

  • AMBITIOUSSTROKE on April 30, 2017, 9:17 GMT

    Both Koli and Ab are under performing in IPL before CT2017 bcz they dont want to reveal their game plan and keep them relatively fresh in the Tournament. It is nothing new in cricket Nz player often does this intentionally. But they perform consistently in World tournament.

  • cricfan8759953409 on April 30, 2017, 9:11 GMT

    Being Optimistic or one can call being over optimistic, RCB has handful of chances remaining, But, to get that all done - It needs to perform, which it has failed to and keep faith in their star power.Just to remain optimistic and Play Bold and entertain their fans and play the remaining with Dignity.And if Luck goes our way, We can still afford to lose against Mumbai and KKR and comfortably stay in top 4, or loose against KX11 or DD and fight with a fight with NRR with SRH or may be finish 3rd winning all the matches. But for all this, we need to stay dependent on our self as well as on others. We have lost 7, other teams also can lose :PBelow are few out of over 10000 scenarios - 1 - To finish at 3rdKX11 vs DD - DD

  •   cricfan78908565 on April 30, 2017, 8:52 GMT

    not sensible for RPS to make 157 knowing Bengaluru out of form, 61 runs waste

  • sahbas_s on April 30, 2017, 7:50 GMT

    Sachin Baby, Stuart binny, Mandeep Singh..RCB has to pick atleast two of these passengers in playing XI which is then reduced to playing IX and you still expect to win matches!! Come on Virat, just take rest and get ready for CT (if it happens....)

  • RiseAnj on April 30, 2017, 7:19 GMT

    cricuser you always comment like that we have recognized you where are you from. sarfaraj is injured and out of IPL.

  • No featured comments at the moment.