Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were skittled out for 92 in their match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) with both Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers registering single-digit scores. They succumbed to a massive nine-wicket loss as a result. Head coach Mike Hesson believes that Kohli's announcement to step down as captain was not a distraction but the fact that the team were not sharp with the bat was the reason for their loss.
"No, I don't think so," Hesson said when asked if Kohli's announcement was a distraction.
"I think it was important to get any form of distraction out of the way early and we spoke about making that announcement as soon as possible so all players were aware of it. It certainly hasn't had an impact on tonight's performance."
"We weren't as sharp as we needed to be with the bat, we didn't adapt to conditions, we lost wickets in clumps - everything that you can't do as a batting group. But I'm still confident in this group that we'll turn it around quickly," Hesson added at the post-match press conference.
KS Bharat and Sachin Baby were included in the side against KKR. While Bharat's inclusion was down to preserve de Villiers, with Baby, they had an extra bowling option if needed, revealed Hesson. "I think you saw that AB de Villiers didn't have the gloves," he said.
"So certainly we've got to look after AB. He's a very important player for us and not one that we can risk at the moment behind the stumps."
"That was unfortunate for Rajat, that we had to pick a wicketkeeper to bat No. 3. And to be fair to KS Bharat, he's been outstanding in the camp leading up to this game. Certainly deserves his inclusion. And in terms of Sachin Baby - we wanted to have a real batsman at six."
"We had the ability to still have six bowlers, and once again Sachin is a left-hander and gave us options with the ball if we needed as well. So that was the reason - with AB not keeping, we needed to make that change at the top."
The former New Zealand coach also said there were discussions around Kohli batting at No.3, but in the end, the team is happy with the skipper opening with Devdutt Padikkal. "Certainly a discussion but we were pretty clear in terms of Virat batting at the top," he said.
"Even during the last campaign here in Dubai a year ago. It's a lot harder to start against spin, potentially coming out at three and if the wicket starts deteriorating... We're pretty happy with Dev [Padikkal] and Virat opening the batting for us."
"Team composition wasn't really the problem today, we got ourselves to 1 for 42 . Even going back further than that, we got the toss wrong. We scrapped to 1 for 41... certainly wasn't a 92 wicket, but to get rolled for 92 there - we should have found a way to get ourselves to 150."
"Whether that would be enough or not would be debatable as well because the ball started to slide on [in the second innings]. All in all, we weren't sharp enough with the bat," Hesson added.
RCB remain third in the IPL 2021 table despite this loss, with 10 points from eight matches. They take on Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Sharjah next on September 24.