IPL 2018: Virat Kohli wanted to win trophy, not fans; he is winning neither

Royal Challengers Bangalore players look dejected after losing the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad during the IPL T20 cricket match in Hyderabad. Photo: PTI
Before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2018), Royal Challengers Banglore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli had said that he was more after winning the cup than fans. The way RCB has been performing in the ongoing season, it seems that it would be very difficult for them to even retain their existing fan base.   

In the 39th match against Surisers Hyderabad, RCB had no other option except winning the match if they had to stay alive in contest. But the outcome was the usual -- RCB lost another important match. RCB losing a match never comes as a surprise, in spite of their star-studded squad or the Opposition they are facing. Somehow, RCB manages to end up on the losing side. Something has to fail, helping opposition walk away with a victory. On Monday, likelwise, RCB managed to bundle out SRH for 146, but while batting they scored only 141, losing by 5 runs

Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bowl first on a wicket that was not easy to bat on. The RCB bowlers knew that it was a do or die match for them and something special was needed. They lived up to the expectations and made sure SRH batsmen did not pile up a mammoth total. Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tim Southee and Moeen Ali kept it tight and sent every SRH batsman back to the dug-out. RCB bowlers managing to dismiss all 10 batsmen of an opponent was a huge morale booster for the team. The achievement was itself big enough to encourage any batting line to go and win the game with ease, no matter whether it was a crucial one or just another game. 

Parthiv Patel and Manan Vohra came to the crease and Parthiv gave a good start. However, the problem of failing to convert starts into big innings continued and he was undone by a beauty from Shakib Al Hasan. Virat Kohli took the crease and he played his signature cover drive for four, making it clear that he was on a mission to win the game single-handedly. Everyone had the same thought in mind because the shot had confidence written all over. And Kohli did not stop with that. However, Manan Vohra felt the pressure at the other end and while trying to match Virat's pace of scoring runs, he was dismissed in a very unfortunate manner. 

The crowd would not cheer so loud on a batsman's dismissal unless it knows the next man in is AB De Villiers. The cheer, however, did not last long. Kohli played a very irresponsible shot to get out, especially when he knew a new batsman was at the other end. He tried to flick the ball from outside the off stump and it took the leading edge. Yusuf Pathan, standing at point, jumped as high as he could and took a fantastic catch to send Kohli packing. For once, it seemed impatience had got the better of Kohli. Such a ridiculous shot in the given situation, in a fate-deciding match, was not expected of Kohli. Onus now shifted from Kohli to De Villiers. 

The Afghan sensation Rashid Khan was brought back into the attack. He had already troubled both ABD and Virat. In his previous over, there had been a huge appeal for caught behind for ABD. Though the appeal was turned down, ABD did not look very comfortable playing Khan. ABD tried the late cut but the ball spun a little too much for his liking. This was a clear indication to him that Khan was not a bowler he could toy with. On the very next ball, he tried to play the same shot, and Rashid hit the timber. ABD was dismissed for 5. That was not what was expected of him: He failed his team when his mere presence would have been enough. 

Like every other player making his debut in the IPL, Moeen Ali also failed to make a mark. No footwork, no correct reading of the pitch, and careless shot selection were the highlights of Moeen Ali's 7-ball innings. Mandeep Singh and Colin de Grandhomme tried to rebuild the innings but were just too inexperienced to play Sandeep Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the death overs. Lack of batting intelligence and remarkable bowling led to the expected fall of RCB. SRH won by 5 runs. 

On a day when RCB's bowling and fielding clicked, batting disappointed. It was not a huge total to chase. It was a situation where RCB had to win. Bowlers gave the momentum that was needed to go in and chase the target. A team could not ask for more. If the likes of Virat, ABD, Manan, Parthiv, and Mandeep could not chase 147, then, in the words Virat Kohli, "this team doesn't deserve to win".


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