New Delhi: Why would you bat first after winning the toss in a knock-out game? When your team has got off to a good start, what is the point of slowing down the run rate with some cautious approach? These are the two elementary mistakes Royal Challengers Bangalore’s captain Virat Kohli committed while captaining the side for one last time in IPL.
In the end, his team was knocked out by the Kolkata Knight Riders by four wickets in the IPL eliminator on Monday. “I have given my best,” were Kohli’s words after his era ended without a single IPL title as the captain of the team since 2013.
The basic approach in playoff games for captains is to win the toss and know the target. It is also the safest option in a big match like the IPL Eliminator. But then, the big teams keep the toss out of the equation. They are prepared to do whatever comes their way. But in the IPL, there is no concept of big teams. That is because no team is worthless here.
What MS Dhoni did in the first qualifier against the Delhi Capitals by opting to field first after winning the toss on Sunday, Kohli did the opposite. He opted to bat against a power-pack spin-heavy KKR, and the decision backfired. The RCB was off to a decent start in the first five overs but lost its way after opener Devdutt Padikkal got out on the first of the sixth over.
Kohli started to show a cautious approach. His strike rate was above 150, but it came down to a great extent, and by the time Sunil Narine castled him, the strike rate was 118.18. The Bangalore team was on the mat. Instead of promoting AB de Villiers (ABD) up the order, Srikar Bharat batted up-the-order and had a strike rate of only 56.25. He consumed 20 deliveries to make a struggling nine. Bangalore had lost momentum, and the writing was on the wall. It became impossible from there to post a commanding total.
By the time ABD was at the crease and was clean bowled by brilliant Narine, RCB was also playing the catching up game. With the ball, Kohli’s men did put up a fight. But the score was too little for anything. Of course, the likes of Harshal Patel, Yuzi Chahal, and Mohammad Siraj were at it again, bowling their hearts out, but Virat’s slow approach with the bat after the first power-play turned the game in favor of KKR for good. While chasing, they looked in danger of losing the game.