Poor bowling let down RCB on home turf too: Kohli

Bangalore, May 14 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli said poor bowling even on home ground cost his team dearly as it lost to Kings XI Punjab by seven wickets in the Pepsi IPL-T20 tie at the Chinnaswamy stadium here Tuesday.

"Our bowling has not been up to the mark in the last few games. The guys haven't been able to execute in last few overs. It's something we need to look into," admitted a disappointed Kohli at a post-match press conference.

Put to bat first after losing toss, RCB posted 174 runs for the loss of five wickets, with its dashing opener Chris Gayle hitting 77 of 53 balls, including six 6s and four 4s and Kohli making 57 of 43 balls with two 6s and six 4s.

Chasing the target, Kings XI coasted to victory in 18.1 overs for the loss of just three wickets, as its skipper Adam Gilchrist returned to form and took away the game with a scintillating unbeaten knock of 85 runs in 54 balls. It seemed an echo of Kings XI's similar chase back home at Mohali by six wickets May 6.

Winning all the six games on the home turf last month, RCB returned Monday after playing six away games over the last fortnight. As it could win only two of them, the penultimate league tie with Kings XI was a must win for the hosts to remain among top four in the table for a berth in the play-offs.

Admitting that RCB did not play very good cricket in the last few games, resulting in four away losses, a dejected Kohli said his bowlers have to improve in death bowling (slog overs) if the team had to win its last league tie against a formidable Chennai Super Kings (CSK) here May 18.

"The position in which we are in right now puts us in a bit of pressure, but that's what T20 cricket is all about. These kinds of situations bring out the best in you. Hopefully the team will put in best performance in the next game," he observed.

Reconciling to the limited options the team has for its last league game (against CSK), Kohli said the bowling department had been a bit of worry as it was pretty good earlier.

"There was a bit of a concern about bowling last year as well. So this year we thought picking up more options would be helpful. We need a good bowling performance because batting has been really consistent through out the tournament. We have put up a big score and defend well," he said.

In spite of losing first time on home ground in this tournament, Kohli rated his team's chances against CSK pretty good and hoped to make into the last four if only the other contender (Sunrisers Hyderabad) lose its remaining two games.

"The chances are still pretty good. If we win the next game we will get 18 points unless Sunrisers win both their games. But it's a different story, all we can do is concentrate on our game to win and see what happens after that.

"Though we can't control what other teams are doing, we can control playing good cricket in the next game and just be in a strong position in the table for a place in the semis," he said.

Agreeing that it was easier to chase on the home pitch, the skipper said the ground (Chinnaswamy stadium) had been like that (favourable) to any team, especially the hosts, in chasing a good target, as Kings XI had shown by applying themselves very well to chase down the score (174) RCB had put on the board.

"The wicket seems pretty good to play on though it did not turn out it to be that way in the first innings when we batted. It was pretty slow, as the ball kept low and wasn't coming on to the bat nicely and that is why me and Chris (Gayle) decided to stick around and string a partnership (137 runs)," Kholi recalled.

On the omission of seamer Ravi Rampaul from the match, Kohli said as Punjab had three left-handers (Gilchrist, Shaun March and David Miller), the team management though playing ace spinner Muthiah Muralitharan would be a better option.

"But Adam (Gilchrist) batted really well. He just took chances and pulled off a victory as the wicket settled down nicely in second innings," he said.

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