From a team that looked assured of a playoff berth with plenty to spare to a struggling unit with three consecutive defeats, Royal Challengers Bangalore have endured a free fall.
The three-time finalists, who had a consistent run in the middle, have flattered to deceive in the business end of the Indian Premier League. Going into their final match against an equally struggling Delhi Capitals, RCB have their backs to the wall.
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With 120 runs to defend on Saturday night, they went down by five wickets to Sunrisers Hyderabad in a rather one-sided contest.
Star batsman AB de Villiers admitted it was a terrible feeling to lose three matches on the trot and they must bring their best to the pitch against Delhi.
“It’s a terrible feeling to lose three in a row, you never want to do that. But that’s the nature of this tournament, anything can happen. If you lose three in a row, you can win three in a row as well. The Delhi game is a big game. We’re going to have to come up with our best cricket. If we do, things will look up very well for us,” the South African said.
De Villiers pointed to the back-to-back dismissals of Josh Philippe and himself as the turning point. “The turning point was probably when Josh and I got out back-to-back, which cost us about 20 to 30 runs. That put a lot of pressure on our middle order,” he added.
De Villiers heaped praise on the Hyderabad bowlers, who stuck to their plan and bowled wicket-to-wicket and varied the pace on a slow surface. That apart, their fielders too complemented their efforts in holding on to catches and cutting out the boundary bound deliveries.
“Credit to them, they bowled exceptionally well. From the word go they didn’t give us a lot of boundary balls. Their seamers particularly started well in the Power Play. After that, it didn’t get much easier with Rashid, who didn’t bowl a lot of bad balls either,” pointed out De Villiers.
“We weren’t brave enough with the bat,” RCB skipper Virat Kohli admitted.