In the second game played at Ahmedabad, the game continuously ebbed and flowed before finally settling in the hands of RCB by a margin of just one run.
Batting first, RCB put forth an insipid batting performance as Ishant Sharma impressed in his first game of the season. Carried by AB de Villiers’ superb finish, RCB posted 171, which DC looked nowhere close to with the death overs to go.
It was then that Shimron Hetmyer’s blitz and Rishabh Pant’s cool head got the team within striking distance. With six runs to win off the final ball, Pant could only hit a wide full toss for four.
Here are the top three reasons why DC lost to RCB on April 27.
#3 Marcus Stoinis’ final over in RCB’s innings
Rishabh Pant had a dilemma in t he sixth game of his IPL captaincy stint. With AB de Villiers finding his form, he had to choose between bowling out IPL veteran Amit Mishra, or bringing back his key pacers and worrying about the last over later. In this contest, Pant chose the latter approach, and it worked out initially as RCB entered the final over at 148/5.
Marcus Stoinis, DC’s sixth bowler, was then called upon to bowl his first over of the game. Though Stoinis didn’t particularly bowl bad balls, the lower pace and death bowling experience of the Australian meant De Villiers feasted on his medium-pace deliveries and racked up 23 in the over.
The over transformed the total from a below-par one to a strong one, and as it turned out, each of those runs was required.
#2 DC’s top order departs without impressing
DC’s wins this season, with a bowling line-up in constant flux and a crucial batsman missing from the middle order, have relied on the form of their openers. Orange Cap holder Shikhar Dhawan and young Prithvi Shaw have dominated contests, both while chasing and while setting totals.
RCB drew first blood when Kyle Jamieson forced Shikhar Dhawan to top-edge a hook shot to the fine-leg fielder early on. Prithvi Shaw struck a few boundaries, but he was on his way for 21. When Steve Smith too was sent back, DC found themselves in a tough spot with the top three not having scored at a great strike rate.
It meant Rishabh Pant’s anchoring innings and Shimron Hetmyer’s attacking knock fell short.
#1 Rishabh Pant fails to find form in the middle
Rishabh Pant was gutted as he couldn’t polish off the required 10 runs off 2 balls, although he got quite close. However, it would never have gotten that close had Pant not played his team into a position which was tough to win from. Though it is hard to fault the skipper despite giving it his all at the end, his knock chewed up too many balls for last season’s finalists.
DC’s calculations have changed this season. WIth their foreign players not in the best of form before this game, the batting ends somewhat abruptly at No. 7. It reflected in Pant’s innings as he struggled to connect his swings, and also took very few risks in the middle overs as he attempted to drag the contest deep.
Though he nearly succeeded, Hetmyer and DC would have been a lot better off had Pant gone for a few big ones earlier in the piece.