It’s all over for Royal Challengers

Royal Challengers Bangalore suffered the ignominy of becoming the first team to crash of out of the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

After plunging to their seventh defeat in 10 matches here, Royal Challengers’ faint hopes of making the cut for the play-offs vanished in the thin air of Pune.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) needed to win their remaining five matches, including the one against Rising Pune Supergiant on Saturday, to harbour any hopes of playing in the last four. But the 61-run loss ended their aspirations.

Having put Pune Supergiant into bat, RCB did well to restrict the hosts to 157 for three on what seemed like a slow wicket here at the MCA stadium. The famed RCB batting, however, made a mountain of what was at best a tricky chase.

Their meek reply, 96/9, was hardly a reflection of the sluggish nature of the pitch. If anything, it was another collective failure of the RCB batsmen who have struggled to find a way out of it. Skipper Virat Kohli (55, 48 balls) played a lone hand, but it was apparent that he was always fighting a losing battle.

Kohli thought batting would get easier on the Pune pitch, but his prediction didn’t come true. RCB needed one good partnership to make a fist of the target on a surface where hitting boundaries was progressively getting difficult.

Travis Head, A B de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav, Sachin Baby and Stuart Binny – the specialist batsmen – all got out in single digits and the team total was sub-100 for the second time this season.

As coach Daniel Vettori put it in his post-match comments, RCB have nothing but pride to play for in their last four matches.

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