Royal Challengers Bangalore 2013 review

A case of peaking too early

Royal Challengers began the season in full steam, but failed to replicate their consistency away from home

Kanishkaa Balachandran

May 21, 2013

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Chris Gayle leads his team for a lap around the ground, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Chennai Super Kings, IPL2013, Bangalore, May 18, 2013
Royal Challengers always felt at home in Bangalore © BCCI
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Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League

Where they finished
Fifth. For the second consecutive season. Flattered to deceive yet again after reaching the final in 2011. They began the season as one of the form teams but struggled for consistency during the second half, when they played the bulk of their away games. It came down to a fight for the fourth slot for the playoffs, with Sunrisers Hyderabad. Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Chennai Super Kings in a must-win game and then had to expect Sunrisers to lose their final league game for a possible backdoor entry to the playoffs. It didn't happen and Royal Challengers, yet again, were left to reflect on a season in which they showed promise, but skidded when it came to the playoffs race.

What went right
The performance of the top order. With the trio of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, Royal Challengers posted in excess of 170 six times, including the record-breaking 263 for 5 against Pune Warriors. De Villiers enhanced his reputation for being one of the best finishers, sweeping, scooping and slogging seamers in the final overs. The captaincy had a positive effect on Kohli's batting, as he finished with 634 runs with six half-centuries, the top Indian-getter at the end of the league stages. Royal Challengers were also unbeaten at home, for all but one game. Vinay Kumar was the pick of the bowlers with 23 wickets.

What went wrong
In a team of specialists, the Royal Challengers bowlers failed to deliver consistently, unlike the batsmen. It was a familiar malaise from 2012, and despite beefing up their seam reserves at the February auction, the problem remained unsolved. It was their misfortune that their most experienced bowler, Zaheer Khan, was passed match fit only in the final stages. He picked up four wickets in his second and final game, but his return came too late.

Two glaring examples of their inability to defend large totals were the games against Kings XI Punjab. In Mohali, they were blown away by David Miller and at the Chinnaswamy, they failed to defend 175 and lost with nearly two overs to spare. The second defeat considerably hurt their chances of qualifying for the playoffs, and it meant expecting other teams to lose in order to ease their passage.

Royal Challengers weren't the best travelers, losing seven games. Their ability to win away from home was tested when they set out towards the end of April to play six away matches. They won only two of those, that too against the strugglers - Warriors and Delhi Daredevils. After a series of home wins, the question was whether the team could sustain that momentum on the road. They ran out of steam and couldn't claw back.

Best player
Chris Gayle, again. After topping the tournament run-charts in 2012 (733), he followed it up with 708 in this edition. He scored 175 of those in one game, against Warriors in Bangalore, the highest score in T20s, the fastest T20 century (30 balls) and hit the most sixes in an innings (17).

Poor performer
RP Singh was among the seven seamers recruited at the auction but despite his IPL record (third-highest wicket-taker with 87 wickets) he fell short of expectations. He didn't give Vinay the support needed, in the absence of Zaheer. He could be remembered for all the wrong reasons, though. With 16 to defend off the final over against Super Kings, it came down to two needed off the last ball. RP overstepped the crease and Super Kings miraculously sneaked home. That no-ball robbed Royal Challengers of two points and though they didn't realise the impact then, it was to bite them later in the tournament, when they were desperate for points.

Surprise package
Jaydev Unadkat was released by Kolkata Knight Riders last year and bought by Royal Challengers in this year's auction for US$525,000. The left-arm seamer picked up 13 wickets in as many games, including 5 for 25 against Daredevils. It was the only five-for by an Indian bowler in the tournament at the end of the league stages. Unadkat impressed on occasion with his control at the death overs and commentators noted that he had increased his pace.

Recommended for retention
Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Vinay Kumar

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 24, 2013, 3:05 GMT)

Yes Gayle,Kohli & AB were the best performers throughout the season but nobody mentions Henriques.He was handy as well.

Posted by   on (May 23, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

For the next auction RCB will need players to fill certain roles in the line up.

*First, finding an opening partner for Gayle who will go aggressive from the start taking the pressure off him so he can take his time getting in before going for the big shots. If this slot can be filled by an Indian player, even better.

*Second, two big hitting allrounders to shore up the middle order on the rare day that the top order fails. One International and one Indian taking spots 5 and 6.

*Third, 5 specialist bowlers. Better than the current lot. Around 4-5 seamers including one wicket-taking strike bowler to fill up that final International slot and 3-4 quality spinners for when playing on slower pitches.

A line up like this will be very difficult to beat on any track. Personally I would put the emphasis on the bowling. In any form of cricket, be it Test, ODI or T20, the team with the dominant bowling always comes out on top in the long run

Posted by   on (May 22, 2013, 23:36 GMT)

I feel Christopher Barnwell should have been given an opportunity in atleast a couple of matches. Decent enough bowler to bowl a couple of overs if one of the specialists is having a bad day and is a good hitter of the ball too. But i suppose Henriques did a good enough job that he kept him out.

De Villiers should have had the keeping gloves more often. No need for more batsmen when the top 5 or 6 can get the necessary runs needed.

Biggest let down is the Indian bowling contingent did not really perform well. With the exception of Unadkat and Vinay Kumar (atleast at the first half) no one really stepped up in the bowling department. Murali Karthik was economical but did not take too many wickets and Muralitharan seems to have lost a lot of form

Posted by   on (May 22, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

RCB in IPL 2013 - Team analysis by a fan - Continued… Vs Kings XI at Mohali - Kohli's drop catch & RP, Vinay & even Ravi Rampaul's death bowling. -- Body Blow to RCB bowlers from which they could not recover in the IPL again.

Tactical Errors - Couple to list Not making ABD keep in many matches, this would have allowed to have an extra player. Dropping Murali Kathik against Kings XI at home.

If you analyze match by match, you will see one man being hero or villain on a day. RCB never put in a team performance. This is so similar to Indian teams story before Saurav Ganguly's era. RCB should not do the same mistake of letting go all the players as they did last time. Retain 4 best players(Kohli, Gayle, ABD & 1 Indian Player) & try hard to get a killer bowler in auction.

Posted by   on (May 22, 2013, 6:51 GMT)

RCB in IPL 2013 - Team analysis by a fan. Cheers- Vs MI at Home- Vinay's last over saved the day. Vs SRH Home- Kohli's 90+ Vs KKR Home- Gayle 85 not out. Vs DD Home- ABD won it in Super Over (Pathan almost pulled it off) Vs PWI Home - Chris Gayle's 175 Vs CSK Home - Kohli's heroics in a curtailed game

Horrid Story - Vs SRH at Hydbad - Vinay bowled an excellent last over. On 19.5 there was a fumble/through at wrong end which allowed SRH an extra run. Needing 2 to win from last ball, Vinay made sure batsman misses it but the keeper (Arun) was not even aware that batsman will run a bye. -- Game Lost in Super Over. Vs CSK at Chennai - Less said the best about RP Singh & his performance on that day. -- Game & 2 vital points lost. Vs RR at Jaipur - ABD had done all wonders to get a score which is above par at Sawai Mansingh. Bowlers failed collectively. -- Crucial loss.

Posted by xylo on (May 21, 2013, 18:57 GMT)

The captaincy might have had a good impact on Kohli the batsman, but Kohli the captain has a long way to go. RCB would do well to appoint ABdV the captain, and have Kohli learn from him.

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

Kohli - angry captain made him unapproachable. if someone misfielded, he would go field in that position. An average bowling attack struggled to lift itself. Venkatesh Prasad is a good bowler but not a field setting coach. Adding big bowlers is important but one needs a good fielding and planning coach/captain

Posted by 214ty on (May 21, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

I am also a fan of RCB. But despite their occasional lapse in the field their real demise was not rotating their players. You cannot have 34 players on a team and play the same 11 all the time. RP Singh should not have played so many games. He was one of the most expensive bowler in the IPL. Don't believe you could not find 2 all-rounders to boost the batting and 2 other good support bowlers. Watch next year, they will come back with the same players again. If the bowlers were consistent that would have been an easy final win for RCB.

Posted by India_MI_fan on (May 21, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

RCB's problems in bowling will be hard to solve next year too. Because they will have to buy quality bowlers. No matter how many average bowlers you buy, only quality bowlers count at last. Now, most of the quality bowlers will be retained by their teams. Only a few will de up for auction. Now comes RCB's problem in auction. RCB will surely retain Kohli, Gayle and AB. So they can use less money in auction than some of the teams like KKR, DD, PWI, KXIP who will retain no player or one player at max. These teams will have the luxury of more money and will go aggressive in buying quality bowlers. So, RCB will be lucky if they can get a couple of good bowlers.

Posted by Abitha on (May 21, 2013, 13:12 GMT)

Very good team. But the bowlers and fielders did not support them. If only virat accepted the catch offered by David Miller they would have been playing tomorrow If only Zak was available earlier Nothing but bad luck . Good Luck in the next season. I personally feel Dilshan was not up to the mark and R P Singh (the famous words of MSD) did not bowl in the right areas in the death. And the batting stops at 5 Kashinath

Posted by dork29 on (May 21, 2013, 12:45 GMT)

This uear was RCB's best bet. Their top three batsmen performed consistently and posted big totals. The bowling, however, was one dimensional.They did not have a good spinner in their ranks. Murali played too few matches and Murali Karthik's attitude is bigger than his game.So lack of variety in their bowling meant that they could not defend even big totals. The second reason was Virat Kohli. Though he is an aggressive captain and believes in leading from the front, his venomous outbursts when his team members fall short of expectations meant that he was putting a lot of pressure on seasoned campaigners and they were always intimidated. This led to their under-performing in crucial situations. Third, flamboyance replaced metronomic efficiency - which CSK have demonstrated so effectively match after match. This league has amply proved that Kohli cannot be touted as future India captain. He is arrogant, emotional and boorish - signs of immaturity. Everyone wanted RCB to lose. Strange!!

Posted by YogifromNY on (May 21, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

RCB did not deserve to be in the top four with this team and it is good they did not make the playoffs. The top four this year are definitely the tops in terms of how they have played over 16 matches. The key difference between RCB and those teams is that those four teams have played as a TEAM and have not been dependent on just three individuals to win matches.

Posted by agriya on (May 21, 2013, 11:43 GMT)

Though its not fair to blame RP Singh's no ball fiasco against CSK alone for RCB's failure to qualify for the playoffs... Its pretty much written on the wall now that RP Singh has come out as the worst of the lot. On his own he has lost few matches for RCB this season! Bad body language, never looked serious enough to attack or even control the flow of runs, so obviously he let off whatever pressure that was built from the other end. Apart from this... poor team selection has costed RCB dearly this season, Dilshan failed at the top, but still was persisted with, Henriques could have been used better, Gayle should have bowled for a change... the list goes on!!! As a die hard RCB fan its sad to not see them in the playoffs, but they deserve what they got for their mistakes!

Posted by LovedFansofIndianCricket on (May 21, 2013, 11:31 GMT)

About retention of the Ravi Rampul should be retained. I think it is not possible to retain the 3 overseas player. If not Vinay should be retained. All are blaming bowling. What about batting. They have big names. And in the 2nd game against KXIP they made only 55 runs in first 10. Imagine if we made 80 runs in first 10. RCB lost only one wk at that stage. Remember 1st match against KXIP. Droping 2 catches in one over of Vinay. Is bowling responsible for that. Against SRH in 1st Match. RCB had good bating. Is that total is enough. Against RR in Jaipur. Henriques bowled only 2 overs and gave just 8 runs. We should not blame bowling. RCB's captaincy is very poor. ABD is good choice for Captaincy. RCB lost only due to poor captaincy and poor fielding in some match, not poor bowling.

Posted by dheeraj90 on (May 21, 2013, 10:54 GMT)

RCB kept Rampaul out for 2 matches picking Murali instead.. It was a case of bad selection as clearly Rampaul was the better bowler of the two (on form).. and he would have complimented Vinay well.. again RCB failed to make the playoffs despite having 2 batsmen among the top 3 run scorers in the tournament..

Posted by A.Ak on (May 21, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

I can't believe people still blame RP Singh for the one ball mistake and ignore all other choke the did in other games, including the awful catch drop by Kholi!. RCB failed because they had no one to rely on when their best 3 fails.

Posted by cric_fan_sam on (May 21, 2013, 10:28 GMT)

They didn't get the combination right. Henriques playing most of the games was a blunder. Pujara should've done the job Moises did with Saurabh Tiwary opening. That would've opened spots for both Vettori and Rampaul.

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

Cant win trophies with just 3 players . RCB had just 3 players contributing for all their matched.

Posted by deathstar01 on (May 21, 2013, 9:57 GMT)

I dont know why I always disliked this team from the begining of the IPL season one. This team always had been stronger than most of the teams in paper (just like they were much stronger than RR & SRH this season) but when it comes to implementation/ performance they always lacked. RCB always showed a sheer arrogance; their behave in the fields always were like ther're the best team around when they are not. I personally do not liked it. And when players tend to think that they are best (but for no reason in fact) it had always affected their performance. So, good to see them out again....... Readers, please comment on my opinion.

Posted by tommyhawk on (May 21, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

RCB needs a strong all-rounder who could add depth to both the batting and bowling. Somebody like Bravo. I think, too, that RCB should have rested some of its more performing players early on and given other players in the squad a chance to perform.

Posted by tommyhawk on (May 21, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

RCB needs a strong all-rounder who could add depth to both the batting and bowling. Somebody like Bravo

Posted by phunny_game on (May 21, 2013, 9:25 GMT)

RCB were riding on the shoulders of the big three.. And you are bound to faulter if your team depends solely on a couple of individuals. The most impressive player for me was Ravi Rampaul who actually bowled much better than most other fast bowlers. He looked like taking a wicket every over. Kohli was also impressive for the first time in IPL over a period of 16 matches. All the other seasons have been average, at best, for him. Played an inning or two, but failed in the others usually.

They will retain VK, Gayle, and De Villiers for sure. And that, actually what the whole RCB team revolves around. They should look for better Indian Batsmen, and Bowlers. The contrast is clearly visible if you look at their Overseas Players and Indian players. When u can play only 4 overseas, why beef up your team with overseas players and leave the seven indian spots vulnerable?!!!

Posted by ravi_hari on (May 21, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

Just like DD and KKR, RCB suffered due to the presence of too many stars. Someone like Dilshan had to sit out most of the games shows the wastage of talent. For RCB even Indian players, barring Kohli have underperformed. They did not have a quality spinner and Karthik was dropped in an important game after performing so well in the previous one. All the wins they had this season were because of their batting and Gayle, Kohli and AB shared the contributions well. However, the 4 overseas player restriction affected them the most. With AB in the team they should have picked an extra bowler so that AB can keep and the bowler could have sent down a couple of tight overs. Kohli was reluctant to use Gayle and himself to bowl, which was surprising. I think they together could have taken some responsibility. Kohli has led from the front, especially in their final match against CSK, but needs to handle his emotions. He gets carried away by the situation. As a leader he should learn to control it

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

If RCB can cut out the histrionics, and the tantrums and jeering at other players then they may stand a chance in 2014. Cricket is not about screaming but smiling and being gentlemanly. Here the games commentators too are at fault, trying to glamorize the cheap antics and scowls of some players.

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

A case of Peaking too early!!! Really Man!! Let's look at the records of all the top teams baring Chennai and Mumbai. All of them have won 90% or more matches at home!!! So, it is really RCB's inability to win outside Blore is what cost them the Place in the last four. This and this is the only reason for their failure to recach the last four!!!

Posted by MWaqqar on (May 21, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

Failure to defend totals cost them the campaign. A team that won six out of first eight and lost two by a whisker, lost five out of eight in second half. Amazing turn around.

Posted by MWaqqar on (May 21, 2013, 8:55 GMT)

At last auction MI retained pollard and Malinga, so more than one foriegn player may be retained.

Posted by Praks on (May 21, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

There is surprisingly no mention of the lack of depth in Indian batting talent to backup the big three. While poor bowling was the main culprit lack of more quality Indian batsmen meant constant pressure on the big three which prevented them from playing with greater freedom.

Posted by ada007 on (May 21, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

bad team selection, dont know who is responsible for that. In calcutta on a slow wicket rampaul was picked over murlithanran and in bangalore on a pitch for pace bowlers they picked murali over rampaul, thye lost both those matches.

they went with quantity over quality when buying bowlers, one good bowler is worth 10 in the dugout, they selecte dome 6/7 mediocre ones in the auction.

AB didnt keep for most matches, wasting a batsman/bowler slot, do you ever see dhoni playing as a non wicket keeper, the flexibility a good wicketkeeper batsman gives is enormous.

rarely experimented, always hoping for the same formula to work is stupid, never strategised, never changed teams, batting orders, never suprised the opposition, played like soldiers without a general.

Posted by FAB_ALI on (May 21, 2013, 8:51 GMT)

Who sunk RCB???......Kings XI Punjab..... sheer case of one average team taking a good one down with itself. Evrythng else was good enough for RCB except for the two games against Punjab.

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

It shows clearly that batting, bowling records will not give result, it is a team effort. It is like Sachin scoring 100 centuries & highest run getter but end of the day, it should be converted to result. See Dhoni, he may be 15th or 16th rank in batting, but his score produces result. In olden days, you can compare Richards for the same, he had scored less no of 100s, most of them were conveted to wins as compared to our great Sachin (only record creator but good for nothing)

Posted by prasatharun on (May 21, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

@ SC13159

Last time retention rule not like as you told.... The rule either you can retain

3 Indians and 1 forienger (remmember CSK retained Dhoni, Raina, Murali and Albie)

or

2 indians and 2 forienger (remmember MI retained Sachin, Bhajji and Malinga, Pollard) .....

But total of 4 which falls under the above 2 rules

Posted by armchair_critic on (May 21, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

@SC13159 : Last time MI retained 2 foreigners - Malinga and Pollard

Posted by Vivekaks on (May 21, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

a very good analysis...but i think what could have changed the results was leadership...and RCB clearly lacked it...Kohli may have led from the front in batting, tactics wise...nope... i agree the bowlers at disposal werent great but there was no point in including 4-5 seamers against one of the oppositions they lost to...and dropping rampaul for a critical encounter was sinful enough... kohli can make it any team as a batsman...but as a captain, he has lots to learn. RCB need a sound leader and a battery of pace bowlers...not enuf packing batsmen alone!!

Posted by Kohli--The_Messi_of_Cricket on (May 21, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

Only one overseas player can be retained. RCB will retain Gayle and MI will buy "AB"DE" in the auction at any cost.

Posted by harry414 on (May 21, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

Very Well Compiled. Looking forward to see articles for all the remaining teams too.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (May 21, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

If the retention rules are like last time, only one foreigner and three Indians can be retained.

Posted by baghels.a on (May 21, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

Well there were obvious shortcomings with there bowling which is well doccumented but i feel ''Galactico '' like approach to there batting remniscent of Real Madrid team of a decade back hampered them , RCB whole gameplan was centred around there 3 top batting stars Gayle,Kohli ,De Villiers when they clicked evertything was rosy but this occasionaly backfired as other batters never looked settled , take the openning conundrum , injury to Mayank Agarwal and bad form of Dilshan didn't help but you feel someone like KL Rahul and Vijay Zol should have patnered Gayle instead of hardly match fit Pujara.Saurabh Tiwary was wasted at no.6 as he is not a batsman who will start swinging from ball one , Arun Kartik at no.7 playing as a specialist keeper was baffling to say the least , IMO out of stipulated foriegn qouta of four atleast two have to be specialist bowlers ...

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

Such an accurate description. The bowling looked, pathetic. Ok gilly played a lovely innings in bangalore, and we can't do anything about that but in Mohali and Chennai we just threw it away. RP cost us the game in Chennai, but it would be unfair to blame only him for Mohali, though he started the flow of runs. RCB need a fit Zaheer and a world class overseas bowler (Morne Morkel?) if they want to challenge for the trophy next year.

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

there is a reason why this team are known as the Royal Chokers Bangalore... that is why, they don't just choke, they choke in royal style missing out on the playoffs!

Posted by   on (May 21, 2013, 8:02 GMT)

RCB have been appropriately named. 'Challengers', for that is what they will be. Perennial challengers.

Posted by sramesh_74 on (May 21, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

RP Singh was pathetic to say the least. Seeing his name make the starting 11 was very frustrating. Murali Kartik should have played more. It was also surprising to see Daniel Vettori on the bench throughout the tournament.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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Tournament Results
Super Kings v Mum Indians at Kolkata - May 26, 2013
Mum Indians won by 23 runs
Mum Indians v Royals at Kolkata - May 24, 2013
Mum Indians won by 4 wickets (with 1 ball remaining)
Royals v Sunrisers at Delhi - May 22, 2013
Royals won by 4 wickets (with 4 balls remaining)
Super Kings v Mum Indians at Delhi - May 21, 2013
Super Kings won by 48 runs
Sunrisers v KKR at Hyderabad (Deccan) - May 19, 2013
Sunrisers won by 5 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)
Warriors v Daredevils at Pune - May 19, 2013
Warriors won by 38 runs
More results »
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