Royal Challengers Bangalore won the toss, and they chose to bowl first. Rahul scored a magnificent 132 and became the first centurion of this season. It is the highest score by a captain in IPL history. His knock was garnished with 14 fours and 7 sixes.
Even though none of the other batsmen scored more than 30 runs, Punjab still notched up 206 runs. All-rounder Shivam Dube picked up 2 wickets and impressed with the ball once again, but most of their bowlers had an off day.
RCB are known for their batting, but this total was just too much. They lost wickets in quick succession and were reeling at 4 for 3 at one point. A few of their players got off to good starts, but it was more about controlling damage than anything.
Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin, who look to be learning the right things under the tutelage of Anil Kumble, took 3 wickets each. RCB were bowled out for a score of 109. Washington Sundar (30) was the top scorer for RCB.
Now let’s take a look at 3 things we learned from this game:
1. Wrong decisions at the toss:
6 matches have been completed so far in the IPL, so it is justified to start looking at some trends. All the captains have chosen to bowl first after winning the toss. While this has been the go-to mantra in T20 cricket over the years, it hasn’t worked in UAE so far.
Only one team has chased down the total, and that was during the season opener between MI and CSK. In all other matches, the team defending the total has won the game. Maybe it’s time to rethink strategies by the 8 teams.
2. RCB’s bowling woes continue:
RCB won the first game while doing something they’re not known for, i.e. defending totals. Much praise was showered over the likes of Dube and Saini for bowling well at the death. But the real reason was that SRH’s middle-order gifted their wickets and were unlucky in many ways.
Against KXIP, who have a more potent middle order than SRH, RCB’s death bowlers struggled. Yadav, Dube and Steyn conceded runs over 11 per over. Even Saini, their premium bowler at the death gave away 37 runs in 4 overs. RCB’s bowling is still their Achilles heel.
3. Rahul comes back to haunt RCB:
It is a well-known fact that KL Rahul used to ply his trade for RCB at one point. They let him go 2 years ago in the mega auction as they thought Sarfaraz Khan would be a better player to retain. Now KL Rahul captains the team in which Sarfaraz plays.
While that was a big howler of a decision for RCB, Rahul made sure his decision making with the bat was on point when he faced his former side. He became the first player to score a century and looked unstoppable.