Virat Kohli was animated as ever. Stationed at the long on fence during the death overs, the Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper was restless to say the least. Mumbai Indians had accrued 177 runs with six wickets still in hand. Two overs were left in the innings and a 200-plus score was on the cards.

RCB’s bowling coach Ashish Nehra, who was sitting in the dugout, got up to where Kohli was fielding. The two had a quick conversation after which Kohli ran towards Chris Woakes, who was marking his run-up to bowl the 19th over. Kohli seemed to have relayed Nehra’s message to the Englishman.

The bowler struck with his second ball to remove Keiron Pollard. He nearly had Hardik Pandya as well, but the all-rounder got a reprieve thanks to the Decision Review System.

The brief chats and the wicket, though, could not quite stop the run-flow. Hardik made most of his reprieve and put on a small show along with Rohit to take the hosts to 213/6.

It was another frustrating spell for RCB in the death. The last two overs had seen Bangalore concede 36 runs. The score had suddenly shot up to a point, that it got out of hand. The mental toll of chasing 214 runs in 120 balls proved to be too daunting.

RCB skipper Virat Kohli (left) and AB de Villiers (right) chat with bowling coach Ashish Nehra ahead of their game against Mumbai Indians. Photo: Sportzpics.

RCB’s batting effort followed on expected lines as the middle and lower-order collapsed despite a sound start by Kohli, who opened the innings alongside Quinton de Kock. The RCB skipper, in fact, carried his bat through, but had to wage a lone battle as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. He remained unbeaten on 92, but could not stop Mumbai from winning their first game of the season.

Bangalore coach lamented his side’s death bowling. Speaking after the game, the New Zealander accepted that the bowlers were struggling to execute the plans laid down by the team management.

“Our ability to close out innings has been poor,” Vettori said. “Planning and strategy is in place, we have to execute better.

“The frustration will be around the back-end of the bowling, because when you are chasing that much, it puts an extreme amount of pressure on how we play,” he added.

“Our frustrations will be about how we ended with the ball in the last two games.”

In their previous game against Rajasthan Royals, their time in the field had also ended in frustrating manner as the opposition scored 75 runs in the last four overs. Forty-four of those were scored off the final 12 balls.

It was a frustrating day for skipper Kohli. Umesh Yadav had struck off the opening two balls to leave Mumbai reeling. They had the advantage early on, but squandered it with some indisciplined bowling, led by Umesh himself, who strayed to the leg side on numerous occasions. in the remainder of his spell.

As Rohit Sharma and Evin Lewis went after the bowling, RCB bowlers had to adopt a defensive approach were penalised further. Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar were forced to bowl flat and focus on restriction of runs rather than laying out wicket-taking ploys.

The likes of Woakes, Mohammad Siraj and Corey Anderson could not quite get the formula right towards the end.

It is a problem that’s not unique to RCB. though. The IPL season had begun with a trend that saw side’s batting second win more often than not. However, in the past week the trend has reversed. Teams batting first are scoring big. Invariably, a big chunk of this run-getting transpires in the last four overs of the game.

With teams worried about the dew factor playing a role in the second half of the game, the demand for a total around 200 has become the norm. The ploy seems clear. Reach 150-160 by the 16th over with at least five-six wickets in hand. Then lift off.

The last four games played in the IPL have followed a similar trend. These sides batting first, have posted scores of 217/4, 197/7, 200/9 and Mumbai’s total of 213/6 on Tuesday.

Invariably, it is the final four overs where the big runs are being scored. While teams are finding ways to keep the runs in check during these crucial overs, some are doing it better than others. RCB fall in the latter category.

RCB lie second from bottom now in the standings. The season, though, is a long one with plenty of twists and turns to follow. A new approach isn’t never far off. While coming up with a plan is never as difficult as the execution that is required to make it work. Kohli and his team management will hope their bowlers can learn from their mistakes.