‘If we bowl like that, we deserve to be where we are’

Kolkata Knight Riders’ win on Friday was the ninth instance of a team winning an IPL game when more than 90 were needed off seven overs. On six of those occasions, Royal Challengers Bangalore were the bowling side. It’s become a painfully familiar tale for Royal Challengers, who possess a batting line-up that seems to constantly carry the team. Captain Virat Kohli said as much after his team recorded a fifth consecutive loss in the season.

“If we bowl like that, [and] we don’t show composure in pressure moments, we deserve to be where we are in the table,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation. “There’s no rocket science behind it. We haven’t played the kind of cricket we should be playing at the level of the IPL and if you bowl like that, with not enough bravery in the crunch moments, then it’s always going to be difficult when you have power-hitters like Russell in the opposition.

“I think we needed to be more clinical in the last four overs. That was just one-dimensional in the end and nothing came off. We cracked a little under pressure and that’s been the story of the season.”

Andre Russell has been on a streak that is far removed from the type Royal Challengers are having. He’s made scores of 48 off 13, 62 off 28, 48 off 17, and 49 of 19, with a combined 22 sixes in four games. Each time, he has singlehandedly turned the match for his team, whether they’ve batted first or second. On Friday, the total being chased – 206 – was the highest Knight Riders have ever chased, and the highest they’d been set this season.

Kohli reckoned Royal Challengers could have added 20-25 more to the total, but didn’t let hindsight come in the way of the glaring problem at hand.

“I wasn’t really happy getting out that moment,” he said. “Could have added 20-25 more had we gone on. And then AB didn’t get much strike in the end as well. He lost a bit of momentum too. In hindsight they [scores] are never good, but if you can’t defend 75 in four overs then you don’t know how many are enough. You can’t have 100 in the last over to defend. You have to look at things in hindsight but I thought the runs were enough on the board. If you saw the ball, the way it spun and stuck in the wicket, it wasn’t that easy. But we just didn’t have composure.”

Royal Challengers have a day to recover, before they host Delhi Capitals on Sunday, which means little time to think about major changes. He suggested the best way to go about such a break was to give the players some space.

“We have a bit of a chat about what went wrong and what happened in the game,” he said of the immediate response to the loss. “But apart from that there’s not much to say. you can talk as much as you want but you’ve got to go on the field and actually do the job. [Don’t think] talking enough helps all the time, you just need to give the guys a little bit of space, try to come back stronger in the next game, try to get on a roll on a winning note. It’s been a difficult season for us so far but we’re still optimistic about our chances and we just have to believe that we can turn things around.”

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