What’s the story?
"I didn't start well with the bat and I'm certainly to blame, getting out in the first over," Watson commented after the contest. The Australian scored just one run and conceded 28 without a wicket from his two overs, as Kings XI romped to the required 149 with more than five overs to spare.
In case you didn’t know…
Watson was given the responsibility of captaincy after Virat Kohli was ruled out of the early stages of IPL 2017, after doing his shoulder during the third Test between India and Australia in March.
In Bangalore’s season-opening loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad, Watson leaked 41 runs without a wicket and made just 22 with the bat. He looked out of touch against Delhi, but was much tighter with the ball, finishing with 1-21 in his four overs. But another poor outing versus Punjab made it three largely forgettable games in a row for the Aussie.
The heart of the matter
Watson’s early exit set the tone for what – save AB de Villiers’ swashbuckling 89 – was a dismal effort with the bat from the Royal Challengers. Scoring at less than a run a ball more than two-thirds into the innings, Bangalore were always going to be below par, despite de Villiers’ brilliance.
RCB’s vulnerability with the ball was thoroughly exposed by Kings XI’s stacked batting line-up, which is comparable to the powerful 2014 team that made it to the final.
But despite falling short with the bat, Watson was left to rue RCB’s ineffective bowling.
Punjab will be back on the field on April 13 against the Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, while the Royal Challengers are next in action on April 14 when they play Mumbai Indians at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. RCB will then host Rising Supergiant two days’ later.
Failure to win at least one would put the perennial underachievers on the back foot again as IPL 2017 properly takes shape.
Watson’s form is definitely a cause for Bangalore’s concern. While the likely return of captain Kohli for Friday afternoon’s game against Mumbai should strengthen RCB’s batting and alleviate pressure, it could potentially make Watson more expendable as the season goes on, if he continues to disappoint.
With Bangalore in a tricky overseas situation – Chris Gayle was left out to make room for de Villiers – the heat is going to be on their four foreign picks throughout the season. Watson’s versatility has so far made him an obvious choice, but unless RCB can start turning losses into wins, alterations will be required.