Indian captains MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli were both on the losing sides for their respective teams, Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), on Sunday in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
RCB were beaten by the Gujarat Lions (GL) despite Kohli's first T20 century. The Bangalore bowlers leaked plenty of runs as Dinesh Karthik top-scored for the hosts with an unbeaten 50 off 39 balls. RPS suffered a two-wicket loss at the hands of league-leaders Kolkata Knight Riders. RPS posted what looked like a competitive 160 but the visitors rode on a 49-ball 60 by Suryakumar Yadav to eke out a victory.
On Firstpost Gameplan, cricket journalist and expert Ayaz Memon, aka Cricketwallah discussed the twin case of the Indian captains losing their matches.
"Virat has been in amazing form. What the results for RCB show so far, that it's not enough for one man or two — if you consider AB de Villiers as well — to do well for the team to win over two months. They might win the one-odd match, but this game requires contributions from the others, especially the bowlers," Memon said.
Three losses from five matches has seen RCB languish at fifth position in the standings, while RPS slipped to seventh with their fourth defeat of the season. Their only win came in the opening match of IPL 2016, against defending champions Mumbai Indians.
"If you look at the table, the highest run scorers and wicket takers, you'll see that there is one batsman from the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) — David Warner, who is in the top 5. But their bowlers are doing very well, from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman to Barinder Sran. It tells you why SRH are in the top 4 despite having a weak start. RCB may have all the batting firepower but their bowlers are unable to defend a score of even 200," Memon said.
Talking about Pune and their recent struggles, he said, "Where Dhoni is concerned, it seems to be a very depressing scenario. Dhoni's body language is a little lacklustre. He is perhaps a little locked up in the past. He had, in my opinion, the best team in the IPL in Chennai Superkings."
"To then see that team fragment into two, it seems to me, that he's still looking for that chemistry or combination that will win him matches. Dhoni is getting a little defensive about what he's trying. He's going to great lengths to explain what seems to be going wrong in the post-match comments, something which isn't his style at all," Memon added.
The IPL has seen its fair share of "upsets" so far, and Delhi Daredevils' good form has surprised many. "KKR have been very consistent. They have a very balanced side and they have retained their core players. Hyderabad have been a revelation, and Delhi have come back strongly. DD were the most under-rated in the sense that they did not have any star power. They punted heavily on young Indian talents and some old wise heads like Zaheer Khan and Amit Mishra. So, there's something to learn there that it's not just the star players that will get you wins," Memon concluded.