The Bangalore Royal Challengers have sunk to the bottom of the points table in the Indian Premier League after their fourth loss out of five matches, against the Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday. However, Rahul Dravid, the Bangalore captain, brushed away suggestions that his team was unsuited to the Twenty20 format.
"Twenty20 fates are decided in an over or two. Luck and the rub of the green are factors here," Dravid told reporters after the loss in Delhi. "And it's not that our team does not have youngsters. If there is any missing link, I think we lack that x-factor."
That x-factor could be Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq, who has been benched despite his outstanding batting in the World Twenty20 because of the cap on the number of overseas players in the XI. Bangalore's four overseas players against Delhi were Jacques Kallis, Ross Taylor, Mark Boucher and Dale Steyn.
"It was difficult fielding all the foreigners," Dravid said. "We needed an allrounder because our bowling was not strong, so Kallis played. Ross Taylor will leave now and Misbah will definitely get his chance."
The 10-run defeat against Delhi was Bangalore's third loss in a row and the second close one, after the 13-run defeat against Chennai Super Kings at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 28. Dravid said McGrath's four-wicket haul was the key to Delhi's victory and also singled out Daniel Vettori's economical spell of 1 for 19.
"I think the difference [between the sides] was McGrath's wickets, both upfront and in the later stage," Dravid said. "Vettori gave next to nothing in his four overs, Yomahesh bowled tight too. Twenty20 matches are decided in one-two overs and we needed two big overs, which we just didn't get. Chasing 10 per over, we were right on track but could not eventually make it."
Bangalore opened with Praveen Kumar, their fifth opener in five games, to try and boost the run-rate while chasing a target of 192 but the ploy did not work. Praveen was dismissed by McGrath in the first over.
"Chasing 10 runs per over, we had to send our stroke-players upfront," said Dravid. "Praveen was sent up with this idea. If he could score 15-20 quick runs, things could have changed. There was nothing wrong with the strategy."
Bangalore's next match is a home game against the Deccan Chargers on May 3 and Dravid hoped that Anil Kumble, who missed the last two games because of injury, would be able to return. "I hope things would improve when Anil returns," he said. "Our fifth bowlers are conceding 50-odd runs. If Anil concedes little less, it would help the side."