KXIP v RCB – Just Cricket’s Commentary

Match Recap

Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to field first as per the trend so far in this years IPL.

The Punjab openers KL Rahul and Agarwal looked in very good touch on a good pitch as they were able to time the ball very well. They put up a 50 runs partnership at the top which allowed punjab to take an aggrieve approach and send in Pooran at 3. The RCB pacers were struggling to hit their lengths as KL Rahul made full use of it. Chahal bowled very well in the middle overs which helped slow down the innings. KL Rahul was batting sensible anchoring the innings very well in the middle overs along with boundaries when required. Once Pooran and Maxwell fell, he was able to switch to top gear as he scored 62 runs off his last 20 balls. He ended up with a unbeaten 132 off just 69 balls which is one of the best innings you will see. This helped Punjab get to 206 in 20 overs. 

RCB had a bad day with the ball and it just got worse coming out to bat. Cottrell and Shami were brilliant with the new ball and troubled the RCB batsman. They lost 3 wickets including that of Virat Kohli within the third over with just 4 runs on the board. There was no respite for RCB batsman as the spinners Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin who followed the pacers bowled very well as well. It was just a matter of time from there and RCB were bowled out for 109. 

KL Rahul registered his first win as captain and it was a massive 97 runs victory. 

Game Changing Moments 

Umesh Yadav and Steyn bowling with the new ball were off their line and lengths which helped Punjab get off to a very good start setting up the platform. 

Virat Kohli who is normally a safe out fielder dropped 2 catches of KL Rahul on 83 and 89 which proved to be costly. 

Areas to Focus

RCB’s bowling, especially at the death is an area of concern. Even in the first game, they got away as Bairstow thew his wicket away and Marsh was injured. Umesh Yadav and Steyn have been ineffective with the new ball and at the death. They should consider bringing in Siraj in place of Umesh Yadav and Steyn can be replaced by Morris once he is fit. 

Since RCB want to play Padikkal at the top of the order, they can’t find a spot for Parthiv Patel and hence need to play Philippe as a wicketkeeper batsman. Virat Kohli should not be batting below 3 in this line up and hence Moeen Ali would ideally be better suited in the middle order as compared to Philippe. This is something they will ponder about. 

Washington Sundar has been bowling well in the practice games and has also looked good in the overs that he has bowled. But he just got to bowl 1 over in their first game and just 2 overs in this game. He is definitely underutilized and needs to bowl more for RCB to get control in the middle overs. He can also be utilized with the new ball in the powerplay.

Underrated Performer of the Day

Sheldon Cottrell was brilliant with the new ball. RCB has got the batting to get close to this target but needed to get off to a good start for that. Cottrell was able to extract swing with the new ball and set the tone early on getting the wicket of Padikkal. He came back in his second over to get the big wicket of Virat Kohli which almost sealed the game for Punjab. 

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