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Another heavy defeat pushes Bangalore to the brink

Wisden India logo Wisden India 29-04-2017 Disha Shetty
© Provided by Wisden

There was no dramatic turnaround in fortunes as Royal Challengers Bangalore slumped to yet another big defeat, this time to Rising Pune Supergiant, to almost signal curtains for their chances of qualifying for the Indian Premier League 2017 playoffs.

Bangalore’s bowlers did well to restrict Pune to 157 for 3 after sending them in at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Saturday (April 29), but it was their abysmal batting that messed it up for them again as they were kept to 96 for 9, hurtling to a 61-run defeat.

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Despite their recent batting travails, it should have been a fairly straightforward chase as Virat Kohli and Travis Head walked out, but the pressure started when Head was cleaned up by Jaydev Unadkat in the first over.

Kohli’s hopes would have spiked when AB de Villiers walked out, but it fell flat very soon as de Villiers drove a full and wide delivery from Lockie Ferguson straight to Manoj Tiwary, who took a sharp catch at short cover. Ferguson was outstanding, his extra pace preventing the batsmen from opening up against him, and he ended with fantastic figures of 2 for 7 from his four overs to collect the Man of the Match award.

Not too long ago, the Kohli-Kedar Jadhav combine had pulled India out of the woods against England at the same venue. But there was no such repeat on the day, as Jadhav was the next to fall after a terrible mix-up that resulted in both batsmen being stranded at one end.

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To make matters worse, Sachin Baby and Stuart Binny returned to the hut as quickly as they came. While Baby chipped Washington Sundar to midwicket, Binny holed out to fine leg to leave Bangalore reeling at 48 for 5 in ten overs. The implosion continued with Imran Tahir prising out Pawan Negi, Adam Milne and Samuel Badree to finish with 3 for 18.While his team slid down a slippery slope, Kohli kept his head above him. He was hoping for some assistance from the other end, but found none, and ended up waging a lone battle to bring up his half-century from 42 deliveries. Kohli finally fell in the 18th over, and it was just a formality for Pune after that.

Bangalore set themselves a chaseable target mainly due to their clever bowling that didn’t allow Pune a final flourish after a quiet but decent buildup.

Milne nearly had Rahul Tripathi caught on 11 with a short delivery, but Kohli fluffed a simple chance at mid-on. Badree, however, provided an early breakthrough by getting rid of Ajinkya Rahane, who mistimed a full toss straight to Milne at fine leg.

The dropped catch would have haunted Kohli when Tripathi welcomed S Arvind to the attack with a huge six over long-on, and smashed a couple of sweetly-timed boundaries off Yuzvendra Chahal. But much to the Bangalore captain’s delight, Negi removed Tripathi (37 in 28 balls) when he ended up feathering an edge to Jadhav.

Bangalore saw the opportunity and kept Pune in check for a while before Steven Smith provided the much-needed momentum. A slog-swept six over long-on off Badree was followed by a couple of fours as 16 runs were collected in the over. Smith had raced away to 45 off 32 balls by virtue of two more boundaries off Binny, but the bowler had the last laugh when the Pune captain mistimed a heave to Milne, who just about hung on at fine-leg.

Pune’s hopes of a late flourish didn’t quite work out with MS Dhoni not able to get a hold of the bowlers, ending unbeaten on a 17-ball 21, and Manoj Tiwary scoring 44 not out in 35 balls. Milne was canny and Arvind impressed with his slower balls and yorkers, as the two ensured the boundaries were limited. Pune only scored 46 in the last five overs – fortunately for them, it was more than enough.

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