Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) claimed a resounding victory over Punjab Kings (PBKS) in Match 27 of the IPL 2023 edition on Thursday (April 20) in Mohali. Faf du Plessis, the regular captain of the RCB franchise, was only able to feature as an impact player due to his hip injury, so Virat Kohli took over the captaincy duties after a long break.
RCB was put in to bat first, and Kohli and Faf, in their impressive form, stitched an outstanding 137-run opening stand. However, RCB struggled in the last four overs, only managing to post 37 runs, ending with a score of 174 for 4. In response, Punjab Kings, who were missing their star batsman Shikhar Dhawan, only managed to reach 150 all-out in 18.2 overs, resulting in a 24-run defeat for the team. Kohli contributed a 47-ball 59, while Faf top-scored with a solid 56-ball 84 before Mohammed Siraj returned with 4-0-21-4.
RCB's batting showed signs of vulnerability in the later overs
Former Indian batter Sanjay Manjrekar noted RCB's batting performance, particularly their inability to produce a late flourish. As quoted by India Today, Manjrekar remarked that RCB's batting showed signs of vulnerability in the later overs. However, the bowlers came through for the team, with Siraj's impressive performance resulting in a comfortable victory for RCB.
"The start promised so much, but the score wasn’t what we expected. But the fact is that it’s an afternoon game. The pitch will become slower. That gives RCB hope. But, yes, they could have added maybe 25 runs more, considering the start that they had."
Kohli tends to slow down
On Kohli slowing down after a fine start, Manjrekar opined, "It’s the same scenario with Virat Kohli that we have been seeing for a while. When the bowlers take the pace off, he struggles to get a move on. We saw that in the last IPL too. Once he gets into his 40s, he tends to slow down a little bit, I don’t know what the reason for that is."
"But, Faf du Plessis, how unselfish he was! He had an opportunity to get a hundred as well. But he was looking to hit a six on every ball. He could have also hung around and gotten a hundred. But he was looking to belt every ball for a six, as he had a target in mind. That's the kind of batting that you really want to see," the ex-cricketer added.
Middle over worry
During a recent match, Kohli and Faf partnered to score 59 runs in the powerplays, an impressive start for their team. However, Kohli's performance slowed down significantly once the field restrictions were lifted. This has been a recurring problem for the player, as he has struggled to accelerate freely during the middle overs of matches.
Despite these struggles, Kohli managed to score 43 runs off 26 deliveries against pacers, which included a six and three fours. However, he faced nine dot balls and only managed to score 16 runs off 21 balls against the Punjab spinners, highlighting his difficulty with this type of bowling.
As the tournament progresses, RCB will be hoping that Kohli can overcome his struggles in the middle overs and become equally dominant against both pace and spin. This will be crucial for the team's success in future matches.