Skipper Virat Kohli said he ran out of excuses after his Royal Challengers Bangalore crashed to a record equalling sixth straight defeat in the Indian Premier League yesterday. Bangalore went down to Delhi Capitals by four wickets in front of their home crowd after the visiting team chased down the target of 150 with seven balls to spare.
Bangalore share the dubious distinction of a team’s worst IPL start along with Delhi (previously Delhi Daredevils), who suffered six losses in a row in 2013. Kohli’s side, which has never won an IPL title, is rock bottom in the eight-team league and the captain has become increasingly frustrated at his side’s performances. “We need to grab those chances, can’t give excuases every day. We weren’t good on the day again. That’s the whole story of RCB this season,” Kohli said.
“When the mind is cluttered, you wouldn’t be able to focus on the chances that come your way. Clarity of mind is very important in the game especially if you want to convert the half chances and pull the game back. Shreyas (Iyer) got 67, he was dropped (on four)... you never know, you can come back in the game at any time,” Kohli, who made 41 in his team’s 149-8, said.
Iyer was dropped by wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel early into his knock after edging a delivery from Tim Southee. The batsman suffered another reprieve on 42. Bangalore have dropped 15 catches so far in their six outings and Kohli believes it is difficult to control things beyond a point.
“There’s nothing more you can tell the team. We’ve asked the boys to take responsibility. It hasn’t happened so far, and that’s the reality,” said Kohli, who leads the IPL batting chart with 5,151 runs. “Personally, not trying to control. After a while, it’s about the skill. Key is to relax, whatever’s in front of us. We want to enjoy as a team, otherwise we won’t be able to play any good cricket.”
Delhi paceman Kagiso Rabada of South Africa received the man of the match award for his impressive figures of 4-21 in his four overs. Rabada, who got the prized scalps of Kohli and compatriot AB de Villiers for 17, leads the this season’s bowling honours with 11 wickets in six matches.
Meanwhile pressure is mounting on Kohli, whose Indian team tops the Test rankings and is also the leading batsman, to deliver in the world’s most popular T20 league. Former England captain Michael Vaughan has suggested that Kohli should be rested before the upcoming 50-over World Cup in May. “If India are smart they rest @imVkohli now for the World Cup... Give him some time off before the big event..,” he wrote on Twitter.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir said the India batting great has “loads to learn” as a leader. “While Virat Kohli the batsman is an absolute master, Virat Kohli the captain is an apprentice,” Gambhir wrote in a newspaper column. “He has loads to learn. Rather than blaming the bowlers he should take the blame on himself.”
Bangalore ended the last two IPL events in sixth and eighth spot despite having top players like Kohli, De Villiers and the big-hitting Chris Gayle, who is now with Kings XI Punjab.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 149 for 8 in 20 overs (Kohli 41, Moeen 32, Rabada 4-21) lost to Delhi Capitals 152 for 6 in 18.5 overs (Iyer 67,
Saini 2-24) by 4 wickets
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