Six factors that led to RCB’s defeat against CSK in the IPL qualifier

The game of Twenty20 (T20) is supposed to be a young man’s game, but ones who mattered for Chennai Super Kings against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday were a 36-year old left arm pacer and an almost 40-year old veteran batsman. The duo of Ashish Nehra and Mike Hussey proved to be the differentiator as RCB stumbled to a play-off defeat in the Indian Premier League (IPL). A win away from an entry to the IPL final, RCB, despite of having a strong side, lost their way and have only themselves to blame for it.


Suvajit Mustafi
 lists six factors that led to the RCB’s exit in the eighth edition of the IPL.


1.  Top order failure
Top order

RCB’s strength lies in their top three batsmen — Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Gayle was kept in check and struggled to get going, while Kohli and de Villiers failed to make substantial contribution with the bat. Even if the runs didn’t flow thick and fast, they should have looked to buy time and keep wickets intact.


2.  Over-cautious approach

Over Catious

The sides were quite evenly matched on papers. While RCB had found their winning ways, CSK weren’t consistent in their last couple of games and were heading in this game after a defeat. However, RCB seemed to be too cautious against CSK’s reputation and by the fact that the Chennai side had beaten them on both occasions in the league matches. This played in their minds and they couldn’t get to a fresh start. They failed to capitalise on their form and previous outings played in their minds.


3.  Poor running between the wickets

Run out

The wicket was sluggish and it was difficult to play on the rise. The need was to look for singles and rotate strike. RCB batsmen did not figure that out and kept losing wickets while trying to play big shots. Had they planned their batting well in the end, they could have got to the 150-mark, which could have won them the game. While RCB hit a total of 16 boundaries (including sixes), CSK struck only 12. Running between the wickets contributed to 79 runs for CSK. In contrast, RCB ran 58 singles.



4.  Didn’t read the pitch well

Pitch reading

CSK were spot on with their reading of the pitch. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again marshaled his troops according to the environment. It was a sluggish surface and they could have gone for an extra slow bowler. Yuzvendra Chahal bowled exceptionally in his first three overs. RCB could have added some variety in their bowling with the inclusion of left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla. They had four bowlers bowling pace and lacked the variety in a tricky surface.



5.  Over-reliance on Mitchell Starc


Starc is the prime reason for RCB’s revival of fortune in this tournament. The 2015 World Cup’s “Player of the Tournament” continued his golden run in this competition as well. However, defending a low score, RCB relied too much on Starc, putting their strike bowler under a lot of pressure. It’s a team game after all. The RCB bowlers bowled well, but they all looked up to Starc whereas CSK had the luxury of Nehra, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo and others. CSK played smart. They didn’t risk themselves against Starc and targeted the weaker overs.



6.  Poor fielding


Most importantly, RCB didn’t field well. While defending a low score in a do-or-die fixture, you need to convert the half chances. RCB missed a couple of catches and run-out chances. Their ground fielding, too, wasn’t up to the mark. The crafty Dhoni took full advantage of it and converted the ones into twos and twos to threes. Those small run leaks mattered in the end as CSK completed the chase with only one ball to spare.


(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades , all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)

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