RCB head coach Simon Katich reckoned that his side ran out of steam with the bat after the 10th game and rued the RCB batters not putting up a decent total versus the Sunrisers on Friday. Katich further defended the ‘chop and change’ methodology and insisted that the changes made were forced.
Coming on the back of having posted scores of 150, 164, 120 and 152, Royal Challengers Bangalore needed a strong showing from their batsmen in the Eliminator versus Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday but what, instead, followed was an encore of the final four games of the group stages. After being put into bat, RCB lost both the openers inside the powerplay, and lost wickets at regular intervals, before being eventually rescued by AB de Villiers to a below-par score of 131. In fact, only two of their Top 8 batsmen got to double digits and the innocuous performance proved to be ‘not good enough’ against an SRH side that chased down the target with relative ease.
It was the fifth game running in which RCB were let down by their batsmen, and speaking in the aftermath of the crushing defeat on Friday, coach Simon Katich reckoned that the Reds’ batters ran out of steam towards the back end. Spearheaded by leg-spinners, RCB did try their best and almost pulled off a heist versus SRH, but Katich noted that it was disappointing that the batsmen, yet again, did not give the bowlers enough runs to defend.
"We felt we were on track after the 10-game mark and then heading into the last four games, looking back at it now it feels like we ran out of a bit of steam. Particularly with the bat,” Katich said in the press conference post the SRH game.
“That's probably the one area that faded a bit after a really good start to the tournament. Credit to the Sunrisers, they squeezed us beautifully, they took early wickets and we were always under pressure trying to play catch-up.
"We realised if we could get a 150 on the board we could be in the game, particularly with the two leggies in the team, seeing the wicket, slow and offering a little bit of turn. To get stuck with our batting today and get only 130 (131) was disappointing and Sunrisers thoroughly deserved to go through.”
Ahead of the Eliminator, RCB made radical changes to the side as apart from changing three of the four overseas players that featured in their last game in the group stages against Delhi, the team also, for the first time all season, promoted skipper Kohli to open the batting. The changes, as it turned out, did not work but Katich vehemently defended the alterations. The RCB coach claimed that the chopping and changing done was minimal and stated that dip in players’ form, unfortunately, forced the management’s hand in making hard-wired changes.
"Look, it (the top order) was settled. Aaron Finch didn't get dropped until I think the 11th game. In terms of a settled combination, I think we did do that for the first 10 games. Finchy did not make the runs as he would have liked, we made the change, Josh Philippe came in, he got an opportunity but when it got back to the playoffs coming around, we made a decision that Virat was going to open today.
“Unfortunately it didn't work but realistically, we didn't chop and change too much. Compared to the past, it was pretty consistent for the bulk of the tournament. Just ended up being a forced change due to form."
IPL 2020 turned out to be yet another season where RCB promised so much and delivered so little, but despite the team’s campaign coming to a premature end, the 45-year-old head coach took positives out of performances from certain individuals, which turned out to be a silver lining. Katich reckoned that the spark shown by the likes of Padikkal, Siraj and Sundar will all hold the side in good stead heading into the future.
"There's certainly plenty of positives in the tournament. Obviously we are disappointed to get knocked out when we had a great opportunity to get moving forward. But I guess the great sign for the future is that Padikkal was magnificent at the top of the order. Certainly a tough job for a young man in his first season and he did a magnificent job. He's got all the shots, he's played some very good knocks for us setting us up some big platforms.
"Washington Sundar did a great job for us, Mohammad Siraj showed some signs there with the new ball towards the back-end of the season as well. I thought he bowled well again tonight. There's some very good young talent coming through and hopefully they can continue to get better for us."