“You Need Highly Skillful Bowlers at Chinnaswamy” – Andy Flower

“You Need Highly Skillful Bowlers at Chinnaswamy” – Andy Flower

A remarkable turnaround in their campaign came to a halt in the Eliminator in Ahmedabad, as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were knocked out of IPL 2024 with a four-wicket defeat by Rajasthan Royals. After losing seven of their first eight matches, RCB managed six successive victories to reach the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. However, in Ahmedabad, RCB struggled to set the pace during the middle and death overs, with RR’s bowlers using the ground’s dimensions to their advantage.

Andy Flower, RCB’s head coach, acknowledged that a total of 172 wasn’t enough and emphasized the crucial impact of the toss due to the dew in the second innings. “The toss was important, and with significant dew, fielding second becomes trickier,” he said at the post-match press conference.

“I think the Royals bowlers executed their plans well against our batsmen, and they deserve a lot of credit for that. We were a little short on runs. With dew, you need more than 170. Our bowlers and fielders fought hard, but we were just slightly below par today.”

Reflecting on the 2022-24 IPL cycle, during which RCB reached the playoffs twice, Flower stressed the need for bowlers capable of handling the conditions at M Chinnaswamy Stadium ahead of the mega auction. RCB’s pacers conceded 1850 runs this season at Chinnaswamy, the second-highest at any venue after Wankhede Stadium in 2024. Over the last two seasons combined, bowlers have conceded 5227 runs at Chinnaswamy, with RCB losing seven home matches in the last two editions.

“It’s a bit early to talk about recruitment for next year,” Flower said. “I’m still digesting this game. But we need to exploit the unique qualities of Chinnaswamy. You need highly skillful bowlers there. Simply having pace isn’t enough; you need intelligent bowlers who can execute specific plans. On the batting front, we need players with power to maintain a high tempo.”

Flower praised the team’s resilience throughout the season, crediting skipper Faf du Plessis and senior player Virat Kohli for their leadership. “Our guys have fought brilliantly over the last 10 weeks. The comeback from the first half of the tournament was a great effort. Faf’s captaincy and both Faf and Virat’s leadership as role models and players were crucial. They set a great example for the rest of the team.”

Flower also lauded Kohli’s batting this season. “Working with him has been a real pleasure. Watching him bat, with his skill, aggression, and hunger, has been inspiring. He’s still evolving his game, which is a testament to his dedication.”

Regarding Glenn Maxwell, who had a disappointing IPL 2024 with only 52 runs in nine innings at an average of 5.77, Flower said: “Maxi’s had a tough season, but we know what he can contribute. He’s had an amazing couple of years, and I wish him well for the World Cup. I believe he can turn his form around for Australia.”

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