Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo
The Champions League Twenty20 is only a week old and already a second IPL team is on the brink of elimination. The home crowd's reaction at the Chinnaswamy Stadium said it all. Bangalore's fans, who have perhaps been the most raucous in this tournament, realised the game was all but lost after the below-par batting effort. They grew quiet and started to trickle away even when Victoria had more than half the target to achieve.
The Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch did offer turn but it wasn't alarming, and nor was it slow and low like the surfaces in Delhi. Anil Kumble, the Bangalore captain, said 127 was simply not adequate on this track. "A score of 160-165 was par. It's always tough when you have only 127 on board," Kumble said. "We needed early wickets, probably three in the first six overs and not enough runs, but that didn't happen. Credit to Victoria for playing well today."
Kumble, unlike some other captains, always makes it a point to come to the press conference even when the team loses and he was direct in his assessment. "We lost too many wickets too soon. Once Virat Kohli got out and [Ross] Taylor, who has been batting brilliantly, and Rahul followed, it got tough. Victoria's bowlers also bowled exceptionally by applying pressure."
Bangalore were given a fast start by Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa but the innings started to go downhill after their 39-run partnership. Andrew McDonald, whose 4 for 21 were the best figures of the tournament, and Clint McKay bowled plenty of cutters and Jon Holland, the left-arm spinner, found enough turn to strangle the batsmen in the middle overs.
McDonald said that things were falling in place for Victoria. "We have a couple of wins against IPL teams and are on top of the table," he said. "Every game is important here. We had a disappointing loss against Wayamba but our batters are coming good on these surfaces and our bowlers bowl in a pack."
Bangalore, though on the cusp of elimination, have actually had only one bad game so far. In their earlier defeat, against Cape Cobras, they played well but were done in by a stunning knock from JP Duminy. Today's poor batting effort came at a wrong time in this tough format.
"We lose the first game of the tournament, then we qualify for the next round but the other team takes points," Kumble said. "Yes it's a tough format but that's how it is. You only play two games, and it's not easy when the other teams come in with points. This result didn't help us in terms of runs scored."
Kumble tried to look ahead, saying the next fixture was a must-win against Delhi and that they had to win by a huge margin. That, of course, is easier said than done.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB vs Victoria
Champions League Twenty20