RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

Virat Kohli smouldered and in front of him, Royal Challengers Bangalore wilted.

RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

It wasn’t entirely surprising that he termed the defeat to CSK harder to take than the 92 all-out before that.

RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

The difficult truth for the RCB captain, as he surely knows, is that title-winning teams rarely encounter two such varied and indifferent performances in the middle of the season.

RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

While RCB's bowling lacks a cutting edge, there are some concerns with the batting.

RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

Are Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal playing at the same tempo? Is the team struggling for balance through the middle having to fit two uncapped batters in the top-six?

RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

Some of the worries are shared by their Sunday opponents, who have also lost to the same two sides.

RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

For the Mumbai Indians, Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan have yet to rediscover last season’s rhythm and that has piled on the pressure on a Hardik-less middle-order.

RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

And therefore, one week since re-starting from a position of comfort, RCB and MI are shifting uneasily and looking over their shoulders at the uprisers.

RCB vs MI : Blockbuster match

The defending champions have fallen out of the top-4, their opponents remain there but are without a win in seven games in UAE. Clearly, there’s more at play than the Kohli-v-Rohit subtext.