Royal Challengers Bangalore went down for the fifth time in seven IPL 2018 games on Sunday, April 29, losing at home to Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets.
Not for the first time, the batsmen did well in putting up 175/4, but the fielding was slack and the bowlers couldn’t do enough to prevent Kolkata from knocking off the runs in 19.1 overs. Doing most of the scoring for Kolkata was Chris Lynn, who hit an unbeaten 62 in 52 balls. Earlier, for Bangalore, Virat Kohli top scored with 68* in 44 balls, while Brendon McCullum hit 38 in 28. Unfortunately for Bangalore, AB de Villiers reported sick prior to the game.
“We definitely missed AB de Villiers,” said McCullum afterwards. “He’s probably the best player in the world and probably one of the best we have seen in the history of the game. For him to be absent today was a huge blow for us. He’s a tough customer, so he was obviously pretty ill to not be able to take the field. He was desperate to get out there. Hopefully he’ll be better for the next game. He’s such a key player for us, such a good leader and a good man to have around the environment too.”
Despite de Villiers’ absence, Bangalore put up a decent number of runs on the board, a total McCullum felt was “pretty good”. McCullum also felt that the bowlers did well in keeping Kolkata to 51-0 in the Powerplay, but the lapses on the field hurt them – the easiest of them was when Murugan Ashwin dropped Lynn when the batsman was on seven.
“We saw how much turn there was out there and there was variable bounce. I thought the way we bowled in the first six overs, the scoreboard probably didn’t reflect how well we executed our plans. If we’d got early wickets on the back of the efforts that we put in, the result would have been a lot different. Without getting those, we allowed them to be quite aggressive against our spinners,” said McCullum.
“And also, we had our chances. It was really frustrating to create those chances and not take them. We dropped catches and we weren’t at our best on the field. We were good with the bat and the ball but on the field, we were pretty disappointing. We can’t be like that unfortunately in this competition.”
At the halfway mark of the two-leg round-robin stage of the competition, Bangalore lie in seventh place, just above Delhi Daredevils – not ideal considering the names in the squad and the fact that the team is chasing their first IPL title.
“It’s always tough when you’re losing a few matches and you’re not getting the results that you want. You’ve just got to be so strong in your own group, be smart about what you want to achieve, and keep turning up every day,” said McCullum.
“Some people might doubt you but none of that matters. You just have to believe amongst your group that you have the ability within yourselves to be standing there at the end of the competition with the trophy in your hand. That’s the belief you have to have.”
Next up for Bangalore is another home game, this one against Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, and then it’s four straight games away before they return to their city.
“It’ll be nice to get a win before we get on the road in a couple of days’ time. But then we’re on the road and we’ve to do it tough,” said McCullum. “And that’s our own fault, because we haven’t got the results at the start of the tournament. Firmly believe in this group of guys, it’s a wonderful environment to be in, the whole coaching staff, the captain … it’s a matter of us transitioning that into points and staying really tight as a unit and making sure we deliver on our potential as players as well.”