It was a disappointing outing for Royal Challengers Bangalore as the Faf Du Plessis-led side was defeated comprehensively by Kolkata Knight Riders in their IPL 2024 match on Friday. Virat Kohli looked in tremendous form as he slammed his second consecutive half-century of the competition but it was not enough. The bowling performance was not up to the mark as the fast bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Sunil Narine and Venkatesh Iyer who clinched the match for their side. Former England skipper Michael Vaughan had a harrowing verdict on RCB following their second loss of IPL 2024.

“Impossible for @RCBTweets to win the IPL with this bowling attack,” he posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Three matches might be too small a sample size to form an opinion but going by the lack of variety that has been on show in Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s bowling attack, they might just be staring at a long, tiring IPL season this year.

The match against Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday offered the latest and the largest footprint of this particular weakness as the RCB bowlers failed to check a set of free-hitting batters while defending 183.

The immediate defence will be to project the presence of dew and an improved M Chinnaswamy pitch during the second innings. But a deep dive will give a different picture.

Defending a total, even a competitive one like 183, demands a tight beginning, however, the RCB bowlers were profligate.

Mohammed Siraj‘s length ball was walloped over mid-wicket for a six by Phil Salt, and the Englishman was served with two more juicy offerings on the fifth stump which were carted for a six and four each. The first over produced 18 runs.

Alzarri Joseph was introduced in the third over. But the pacer gave Sunil Narine a length ball on leg-stump which was dispatched for a six over long-on and two balls later a short-pitched delivery was sent in the same direction for a maximum.

These are the balls that will be punished at this level — dew or no dew, whether it is easy pitch or tough pitch.

There was an exception in Vysakh Vijayakumar who used knuckle balls and pace-off deliveries to good effect to return with excellent figures of 1/23, but the more experienced names were reluctant to bring in those variations – at least consistently.

“The second innings was slightly better to bat because the ball came on to the bat a bit quicker because of the dew. I was trying to use hard-length balls and short balls banged into the pitch to contain batters,” Vijaykumar said in the post-match press conference.

“But it was still gripping from both the ends. We did try to mix it up but they (KKR batters) got away with it.” There’s some truth in his words. The stats show that KKR bowlers used 22 balls under 120 kmph and conceded just 20 runs off them to pick up three wickets.

Meanwhile, the RCB bowlers bowled 19 balls under 120 kmph, but gave away 40 runs and could bag only a wicket.

(With PTI inputs)

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