Royal Challengers Bangalore head coach Simon Katich admitted that his side were outclassed in all aspects by Punjab Kings, but asserted that the Reds will bounce back in their next fixture vs KKR on Monday. Katich expressed that, on a used strip, Punjab’s 180 turned out to be an above-par score.
Despite not qualifying for the playoffs last season Punjab did the double over Bangalore, and the Kings made it three in a row on Friday as the Royal Challengers were handed a 34-run defeat in Ahmedabad. Skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and put Punjab into bat, but a masterclass from KL Rahul (91*) and a mini Gayle-storm propelled PBKS to 179. In response, RCB’s chase never got going and a scintillating three-wicket-haul from left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar crippled the Reds, who eventually slumped to a 34-run defeat.
Speaking post the game, RCB’s head coach Simon Katich conceded that his side were outclassed by Punjab but insisted that the Reds will bounce back in their next encounter. Katich noted that RCB lost the plot in the middle overs with the bat, and reckoned that Punjab ended up posting an above-par total.
“Obviously our Net Run Rate took a hit today. We just got outclassed today by Punjab. They played the conditions better. Certainly we assessed the conditions well with the bat but lost our way at the middle - probably left it too late. They deserve to win today and they were very good,” Katich said in the post match press conference.
“KL Rahul was outstanding at the top of the order, marshalling them to the 180--run mark which in the end turned out to be well over par on that wicket, given it was the second time it was used. Disappointing day for us but one thing this group is good at is bouncing back, so expect a good showing from us when we play KKR in a couple of days’ time.”
It was yet another rough night at the office for leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who finished with 1/34 off his four overs, but Katich denied that his or any other player’s spot was under the scanner. Katich, in fact, heaped praise on Chahal for bouncing back after an expensive first over, and also tipped his hat off to young Shahbaz Ahmed, who took 1/11 in the 2 overs he bowled.
“I don’t think spots are under the scanner. They certainly bowled much better lengths than we did and the wicket got slower and slower as the night went on. They assessed it well and bowled good lengths - we were off our lengths a little bit. Yuzi fought back really well after that first over versus Gayle - it’s never easy to catch up as a spinner when you’ve been hit in your first over. I thought Shahbaz Ahmed bowled well and we clawed back things very well, but yeah 180 was too much on that wicket.”
Chahal caught up and bounced back after he was hit, but one player who did not make up for his slow start was Rajat Patidar. The right-hander endured an extremely slow start, scoring just 19 off his 25 balls, and was never able to get going. His struggle mounted pressure on the entire side and eventually the Madhya Pradesh batsman perished for a 30-ball 31 to dash RCB’s hopes of a win. Patidar has since come under immense criticism from the general public, but Katich was quick to run to the defence of the youngster. The RCB head coach described Patidar as a ‘fine young player’ and insisted that the 27-year-old will get better with experience.
“Rajat has settled into the team nicely. It’s obviously his first IPL season and he’s shown a lot so far - particularly in our practice camps. He played very nicely the other day against Delhi, a very valuable 31, but tonight he found it tough going. I thought they bowled really well and it was tough to get the spinners away in the middle, but he’ll get better with experience. He’s a young player, so hopefully he’ll keep getting more experience as the tournament goes on.”
Currently third, RCB will take on KKR in Ahmedabad on Monday, May 3.