Bengaluru, May 7 (IANS) In the absence of star bowlers — Aussie speedster Mitchell Starc and West Indian leg-spinner Samuel Badree — due to injuries, the weakened bowling attack and sloppy fielding of hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) showed up again on Saturday against Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) tie at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here.
Barring Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson, who took three crucial wickets in four overs for just 24 runs, the other five RCB bowlers struggled to contain the RPS batsmen, who went on to post an imposing 191/6 in the stipulated 20 overs.
Though RCB skipper Virat Kohli won the toss, he opted to bowl first on a strong batting pitch and preferred to chase in a must-win game to reverse the team’s fortunes after losing the last three games, including two away games and one here on May 2 against two-time titleholders Kolkata Knight Riders.
After RPS opening batsman Usman Khawaja was run out for 16 in the third over, RCB pacers Stuart Binny, Varun Aaron and Chris Jordan failed to stop an in-form Ajinkya Rahane and Saurabh Tiwary from scoring merrily and posting a 106-run second wicket partnership in 70 balls. Even all-rounder Parveez Rasool and Yuzvendra Chahal could not contain them from hitting all over the ground.
Aaron was particularly unlucky in the sixth over of the RPS innings when Binny and Sachin Baby dropped catches in succession to gift Tiwary a major let off. Aaron again missed out on a wicket in the eighth over when Watson failed to catch a skier from Rahane, who went on to make 74 in 48 balls with eight fours and two sixes, while Tiwary scored 52 in 39 balls with nine boundaries.
England bowler Jordon, who joined the team on Sunday, was the most expensive of the pack, giving away 43 runs in his stipulated four overs.
Poor fielding and failure to stop the ball near the fence the fielders enabled RPS to accelerate their scoring rate despite losing five wickets in the death overs.