Kagiso Rabada’s haul of 4/21, his best in Twenty20 cricket had restricted Royal Challengers Bangalore to 149/8. Shreyas Iyer hit a brilliant fifty and Delhi Capitals almost threatened a repeat of their spectacular collapse against Kings XI Punjab where they lost seven wickets for eight runs. However, Virat Kohli’s luck is not like Kings XI Punjab. His team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, continued their horrendous run in IPL 2019 by suffering their sixth straight defeat with a four-wicket loss against Delhi Capitals at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on Sunday. Batting collapse and dropped catches proved to be the bane of Royal Challengers Bangalore as this loss makes their play-off prospects even harder.
It was Rabada’s spell that set up Delhi Capitals brilliantly after Shreyas Iyer had chosen to bowl on a dryish wicket in Bangalore. Parthiv Patel, who has been in decent form at the top, fell to Chris Morris for nine when he sliced a full and wide delivery to Sandeep Lamichhane at third man. AB de Villiers and Kohli attempted to rebuild the innings, with de Villiers launching Morris over deep midwicket for a six and hammering Ishant Sharma to the cover boundary.
In Parthiv’s dismissal, the previous ball was a wide and Delhi Capitals had gotten the wicket thanks to the extra ball. In the case of de Villiers, this was repeated. After Rabada bowled a wide down the leg side, de Villiers miscued a full ball that was bowled with a scrambled seam to long on where Colin Ingram ran back and took a smart catch.
Marcus Stoinis tried to break the shackles by hammering Lamichhane for a six but he fell for 10 as he mistimed a short ball to long on where Rahul Tewatia took the catch. Moeen Ali revived the innings with a couple of sixes. After hitting his third six, he tried to slog Lamichhane out of the ground but was stumped for an aggressive 32 off 18 balls. The Nepal legspinner continued to leak runs, with Kohli blasting a boundary and two sixes in the 17th over which yielded 19 runs.
However, Rabada changed the entire complexion of the game in the 18th over. First, he got rid of Kohli for 41 with a full ball bowled with a scrambled seam and the skipper holed out to long on. Akshdeep Nath (19) and Pawan Negi (0) fell in the same over as Rabada’s best-ever haul helped Delhi Capitals restrict Royal Challengers Bangalore to 149/8.
In response, Delhi Capitals started badly with Shikhar Dhawan falling to Tim Southee for a golden duck. In the same over, Iyer edged an outswinger from Southee on 4 but Parthiv spilled the chance. Prithvi Shaw made Royal Challengers Bangalore pay by hammering five boundaries in one over bowled by the New Zealand pacer. Shaw and Iyer regularly found the boundaries and the partnership went past fifty.
However, on 28, Shaw mistimed a short ball from Negi to be caught by Akshdeep Nath at deep backward square leg. Iyer once again benefited from a dropped catch by Parthiv on 42. This time, Colin Ingram made Kohli’s side pay by blasting a six and a four in the 11th over. Although Ingram was adjudged LBW off Moeen Ali with the batsman missing the ramp scoop, the Delhi Capitals skipper reached his fifty and almost sealed the game by launching Yuzvendra Chahal over wide long off for a big six.
With six runs needed for victory, it was all over but once again Delhi Capitals threatened to repeat their spectacular implosion against Kings XI Punjab. Iyer (67) was undone by a sharp bouncer from Navdeep Saini and Chris Morris (0) fell in the same over. When Rishabh Pant holed out to mid-off, there were murmurs that Royal Challengers Bangalore could pull off a Kings XI Punjab-style escape but Axar Patel held his nerve to smash a boundary off Mohammed Siraj and seal the game.
“There is nothing more to say to the team. We have asked the guys to take responsibility. It hasn't happened so far and that is the reality. We need to accept it,” Kohli remarked after the end of the match. With this loss, Royal Challengers Bangalore might well kiss their prospects of a play-off spot goodbye. The loss will make Kohli think deep about what direction he needs to take, with the World Cup just over a month-and-a-half away.