The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) outfit pulled off many a batting heist in this season’s IPL. But on Sunday, chasing a mammoth 208, it faltered at the final hurdle, and lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad, to condemn itself to its third loss in a title match and Daniel Vettori to the fate of being the first man to lose a final as both captain (2011) and coach.
“We have proved that we can score such sort of runs here at the Chinnaswamy,” said Vettori. “The start we got today allowed us the confidence to do that. But one of the main reasons Sunrisers were in the final was because of their bowling. Mustafizur [Rahman] again proved how valuable he was. Ben Cutting was probably decisive. He took some crucial wickets too.
“Just when we required a couple of guys to kick on, we weren’t able to give the momentum that Chris [Gayle] and others had established for us.”
Vettori though denied that the lower-middle order was undercooked.
“That’s hard to really answer,” he said. “It would mean that you want your top order to fail. You never want that to happen. We were lucky that our top-order has been amazing. If you actually look at the performances of K. L. Rahul, he has been exceptional batting at No. 4. Sachin Baby has come in and done a fantastic job striking over a 150. So no complaints.”
What made Sunrisers’ achievement all the more note-worthy was the fact that the venue has had a history of rewarding chasing teams. Kohli in fact said at the toss that he wouldn’t “even have bothered turning up” if he had known that David Warner was going to bat first.
“We were [surprised],” said Vettori. “I am sure they looked at the conditions from the last game (Gujarat Lions) and expected something similar. It was a bit slower then and the bowlers were able to exploit, particularly early on. This pitch was slightly dry, and the dew later on probably made it an even better wicket. So it was a brave decision, but obviously one that paid off.”
For all the agony in the end, Vettori said that there were indeed great strides made.
“Obviously the mood is a bit down,” he said. “Reflection around the performances is difficult at the moment because there is nothing to play for. But at some point we will reflect on the tournament and obviously be proud of a lot of things we did.”
“Virat has been phenomenal. When you have got a guy at the top of the order who takes that much control and his performances are that great, it allows things to flow from there. Obviously a great captain does that — leads with his performance and he has been exceptional not only with batting, but fielding and leadership.”