BENGALURU: After an impressive performance in the first ten games, winning seven of them, Royal Challengers Bangalore had a spring in their stride. Both the bowling and batting department contributed to their team's success. They were one of the favourites to seal one of the four Playoff berths. But, things have not gone according to plan of late as they have endured three successive losses, including their last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.
Such results mean Virat Kohli and his men will have to defeat Delhi Capitals in their last game on Monday to attain qualification. Bangalore, who are currently on second place with 14 points, can finish in the top two with a win. However, they can still qualify with a loss. But, in that case, they will have to depend on other results going their way.
"It's a terrible feeling to lose three in a row, you never want to do that, but that is the nature of this tournament, anything can happen. If you lose three in a row, you can win three in a row as well. That will be our thinking moving forward. The Delhi game is a big game, we all know that. We are going to have to come out with our best cricket on the day. If we do, things will look up very well for us,” said AB de Villiers in the post-match conference.
The situation would not have come to this, had their batsmen delivered against Hyderabad. On a tricky track for batting in the first innings, none of the Bangalore batsmen really got their game going. After Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli lost their wickets for a single digit score, de Villiers (24) and Josh Philippe (32) looked to steady the ship, and it worked to some extent.
They were involved in a 43-run partnership, but run-scoring became even more difficult after both the players were out in a span of five balls. De Villiers considers their wickets to be a turning point, and rightly so as the lower order batsmen, which has not got much chance to bat, did not come to the party. Barring a 18-ball 21 by Washington Sundar, no one made their opportunity count.
However, it was a contest, where Bangalore batsmen were outdone by the Hyderabad bowlers, who bowled in the right areas from the start of the innings. The likes of Sandeep Sharma, Rashid Khan and T Natarajan were on the money to restrict Bangalore to 120/7 and Hyderbad chased it down in the 15th over.
“Credit to them, they bowled exceptionally well. From the word go, they did not give us lot of boundary balls. Their seamers particularly started well in the powerplay. They didn't make a lot of mistakes. And also, after the powerplay it didn't get much easier with Rashid, who didn't bowl a lot of bad balls either tonight. I think they applied a lot of pressure. The turning point was when Josh and I got out back to back.”
Hyderabad, who has won two successive matches, can qualify if they beat Mumbai Indians in their last game.