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How the absence of Harshal Patel rocked RCB's boat in 'Southern Derby'

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Mumbai, April 13 (IANS) Calling right-arm pace bowler Harshal Patel an integral part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) setup would be an understatement, given the kind of solidity he brings to the bowling line-up.

The 31-year-old’s absence from the Faf du Plessis-led side on Tuesday due to bereavement in his family was one of the key reasons for RCB conceding 216 runs to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the ‘Southern Derby’ and then losing the high-scoring match by 23 runs.

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Du Plessis was at his wits’ end trying to explain how a star-studded side, which was on a three-match winning streak, went down to a team that had been searching for a winning formula in IPL 2022.

The former South African skipper attributed the defeat to the absence of Patel, who had to leave the IPL bio-bubble after getting the news of his sister’s demise.

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“You see the value of Harshal (Patel), and what he offers. He has the ability to stop the game. We missed that (against CSK); we had a similar tone to the bowling. We lacked the variety we needed in our attack. Hopefully we can have him soon again,” said du Plessis.

De Plessis said that bowlers started well but then the onslaught of Shivam Dube and Robin Uthappa took the game beyond RCB’s reach. Dube slammed an unbeaten 95, while Uthappa scored 88, and together they sewed together a stand of 165 runs to put the match beyond RCB’s reach.

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“First 7-8 overs were pretty good, then there was a period from 8-14 where (Shivam) Dube took the spinners on. That period, whatever we tried didn’t work. In order to chase down such a big score, you need one of the first four to set the foundation. We didn’t have that. CSK used their spinners well on a pitch that had some grip. The way we came back was credit to the depth,” said du Plessis.

It was an off day in office for the RCB bowlers as they failed to find their stride. Despite Australian pace bowler Josh Hazlewood’s decent figures and Wanindu Hasaranga’s late brace, the CSK had enough on the board already.

Speaking about debutant Suyash Prabhudessai, who scored 34 off 18 in the chase, du Plessis said, “Impressed with the way Prabhudessai played the way he did on debut,”.

RCB will be up against the Delhi Capitals in their next game on April 16.

–IANS

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