Rabada, Iyer condemn RCB to 0-6 record

Delhi Capitals extended Royal Challengers Bangalore’s winless streak to six games with a fairly comfortable four-wicket win over their struggling hosts at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Rabada’s 4 for 21 on a two-paced wicket kept RCB down to a below-par total of 149, which was chased down relatively easily as conditions for batting improved under lights. Shreyas Iyer top-scored with 67, providing enough insurance against another late-innings wobble.

Did anything change from RCB?

The colour of their jerseys. Virat Kohli took a call to play the same XI and unfortunately for him, the game was marked by general RCB ineptness. They batted conservatively and turned profligate with the ball in hand while Kohli maintained an expression of helplessness throughout.

They hit 205 the other night. Why only 149 today?

The pitch at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium played significantly slower in the afternoon session, which Kagiso Rabada used to stifle the natural strokemakers in the RCB line-up. His battle against compatriot AB de Villiers was a glowing tick in favour of setting batsmen up even in T20 cricket. Rabada bowled two back-of-a-length seam-up deliveries clocking 154.5 and 151.1 kmph pushing de Villiers back and then bowled a cross-seamer at 121.5 and elicited a false shot from the batsman. De Villiers, looking to hit through the line, was caught well by another South African, Colin Ingram, running back from mid-on.

Rabada used the cross seamer to great effect and added three more wickets in his third over and finished with figures of 4-0-21-4.

What about Kohli?

DC found a way to keep him quiet, by consistently keeping off strike. So much so that, the RCB captain, who’d opened the batting and hit his first ball for four, had faced only 28 balls by the end of the 16th over. He hit two sixes off the next four balls he faced and just when it looked like he would at least give his team a final flourish, he fell to Rabada for a 33-ball 41.

Balls faced by Kohli in all the partnerships (total balls)with Parthiv: 3 (12)with De Villiers: 8 (24)with Stoinis: 11 (28)with Moeen: 5 (23)with Akshdeep Nath: 6 (16)

Anything else went wrong?

Yes, the fielding and the bowling! Parthiv Patel dropped RCB’s 14th catch of the season in the first over of this game. It was not regulation but definitely catchable at this level – although ‘this level’ can be highly misleading given the general sloppiness of fielding this season. Delhi could have been 8 for 2 in the first over and Iyer, who was reprieved on 4, went on to score a match-winning 50-ball 67.

And Tim Southee, who bowled that ball, went on to concede 20 runs off his next over as Prithvi Shaw injected the early oomph that Delhi needed in their chase.

Was Shreyas Iyer the standout batsman of the match?

It’s hard to make such a statement given the general incompetence on display. But Iyer was good, without being remarkable. He played within himself while Southee and Navdeep Saini operated early in the innings and played to his strengths when the spinners came on. He hit both his sixes and half of his eight boundaries off the spinners.

Worryingly for Delhi, even after Iyer’s knock, Delhi’s problems of needlessly complicating a chase was not alleviated. They lost three wickets for two runs and eventually won with only seven balls to spare.

Where do they go from here?

RCB go into a lengthy period of introspection. Mathematically they’re still in this but mentally they have one foot out. They have three consecutive away games to come but that run begins only after a six-day break. They’ll have time to contemplate changes, for the rest of this season and even for the years to come. Delhi Capitals have a five-day gap themselves before they travel to Kolkata to face Andre Russell & Co.

Brief scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 149/8 in 20 overs (Virat Kohli 41, Moeen Ali 32; Kagiso Rabada 4-21) lost to Delhi Capitals 152/6 in 18.5 overs (Shreyas Iyer 67; Navdeep Saini 2-24) by four wickets.

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