What’s the story?
Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Daniel Vettori has called on his batsmen to change their approach, after failing to adapt to a slower wicket at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in IPL 2017.
Speaking after a second home loss in 48 hours, this time to Rising Pune Supergiant, Vettori said, “It's probably a case of dealing with a kind of wicket that we haven't played on before. It's obviously slightly slower.”
"Trying to catch that up in the back end on a slow wicket is incredibly difficult. I think in a lot of ways we need to be more proactive. We need to put more pressure obviously through more boundaries but also by rotating the strike.”
Vettori also commented on Chris Gayle, who was left out of the side for a second time in three games on Sunday night.
"It's tough for everyone in T20 cricket. We know Chris is a very good performer and we know if he can get on a roll then we can utilise Chris in a positive manner. At this stage we are just trying to find the right balance,” said the Kiwi.
In case you didn’t know…
The Royal Challengers bowlers forced their side into a strong position against Pune, reducing them to 130 for 7 after 17.2 overs. But Manoj Tiwary’s late surge hoisted his side to 161, which was always going to be a testing total.
Mandeep Singh fell for a duck as Bangalore’s chase started poorly, before Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers got things back on track. But after they departed, RCB’s middle order got bogged down, dropped behind the rate and never threatened to catch up, ultimately losing by 27 runs.
The heart of the matter
RCB have been unable to find the right formula with their overseas players, not helped by the fact that Gayle and Shane Watson are considerably underperforming.
Against Mumbai Indians, Gayle managed just 22, but crucially took up 27 balls – nearly one-quarter of the innings at less than five an over.
The middle overs have proven particularly difficult for Bangalore too, with their inability to pick off singles and twos regularly building pressure they have not been able to withstand, as shown by totals of 157, 142 and 134 in their three home games this season.
Bangalore will now head on the road for the next week, playing Gujarat Lions in Rajkot on April 18 and Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on April 23, before returning home to take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 25. With just one victory from their first five games, nothing less than a win from all three will suffice if they still harbour playoff hopes.
The Chinnaswamy pitch this year is distinctly different from what we’ve seen in past seasons, but it’s Royal Challengers’ failure to adapt which is causing problems. As Kohli proved against Mumbai Indians, it’s possible to find the fence and rotate the strike efficiently with the correct mindset.
And with Gayle woefully out of form, while consuming too many deliveries without capitalising when he does get a chance to play, RCB’s power-packed batting order is worryingly faulty.
However, Adam Milne’s 2 for 27 versus Pune will be encouraging since Tymal Mills and Billy Stanlake have struggled so far.