IPL 2017 April 30, 2017

RCB in IPL 2017: Back where they started

Royal Challengers' batting woes in 2017 are similar to their plight in the inaugural IPL season in 2008
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Royal Challengers' batting struggle this season is reminiscent of their performance in the inaugural IPL season © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

When the IPL started back in 2008, most teams were unsure about how to handle the 20-over format. Some teams, though, handled the uncertainty worse than others. Royal Challengers Bangalore, in all their collective wisdom, put their trust in batsmen adept at the longer format, hoping that they would adapt to 20-over cricket. The result was a disaster.

Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and co. struggled to cope with the requirements of the format, and Royal Challengers limped to second-last place; only Deccan Chargers were poorer.

That early failure became a distant memory, though, as in recent years Royal Challengers revamped their team and their strategy completely, becoming one of the most exciting and top-heavy batting units in the competition. With Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Shane Watson in the mix (and Tillakaratne Dilshan in a few earlier seasons), their top order has been the envy of other teams.

Which is why it has been so shocking to see the way the 2017 season has panned out for them. In terms of their win-loss record, batting average and strike rate, this season has been depressingly similar to the corresponding numbers in 2008. In fact, their average, run rate and balls per boundary are all marginally worse than in 2008, and they have been racking up records for all the wrong reasons.

There has hardly been anything to cheer for Royal Challengers' fans this season © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

In 2008, the numbers were not entirely unexpected, given the nature of batsmen in their line-up. This time, it has shocked all pundits. It is true that the unavailability of KL Rahul, plus the early injuries to Kohli and de Villiers hurt the team badly, but the turnaround that was expected once de Villiers and Kohli returned has never happened (save for a rare show of brilliance against Gujarat Lions).

The contrast from their batting numbers of 2016 couldn't be any starker. Last year, with their top order full of confidence, they racked up amazing numbers, scoring almost 42 runs per wicket at a run rate of 9.62 - both stats being the best by any team in a season. They also struck a four or a six every 4.90 balls, compared to one every 7.18 balls in 2017. From a season which was their best ever in terms of batting stats, Royal Challengers have turned in easily their worst batting performance in a season.

From the batting highs of 2016, RCB have come crashing back to earth in 2017 © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

RCB's season-wise batting numbers in the IPL
Year Mat Ave Run rate BpB
 2017  9  18.58  7.35  7.18
 2008  14  18.70  7.43  6.52
 2009  16  21.50  7.35  7.22
 2014  14  25.52  7.78  6.30
 2010  16  27.91  8.16  6.09
 2015  16  29.25  9.17  4.88
 2012  16  29.78  8.34  5.91
 2011  16  31.25  8.39  5.57
 2013  16  32.96  8.54  5.46
 2016  16  41.98  9.62  4.90

Last season, the quartet of Kohli, de Villiers, Gayle and Watson had a combined average of 43.04, at a strike rate of 155.2 (2066 runs in 1331 balls). This season, they have struggled to 585 runs from 485 balls, at an average of 27.86, and a strike rate of 120.6; Kohli has a strike rate of 123, Gayle 124.6 and de Villiers 125.4. That is in the Dravid territory - in the 2008 season, he averaged 28.53 at a strike rate of 124.5 in 14 innings. With conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium not aiding strokeplay either, this has been a tough season for a set of players from whom plenty was expected. For Royal Challengers, the IPL has come a full circle in its tenth season.

Kohli+de Villiers+Gayle+Watson in the last two seasons
Season Inngs Runs Ave SR BpB
 2016  57  2066  43.04  155.2  4.77
 2017  22  585  27.86  120.6  6.64

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shantanu on May 1, 2017, 15:35 GMT

    RCB has been a collective failure this season. Even forsomeone like Kedar Jadhav its been just acouple of innings initially. Kedar thought that his improved fitness levels will improve his scores. I hope he doesnt go the way of Yousuf Pathan who never fulfilled his potential having gone over confident after a few good innings. IPL like international cricket demands consistency otherwise you could be just a one inning wonder like Paul Valthaty. The lesson for RCB for next cycle is to make a balanced side. Their marquee spends have never paid of whether Yuvraj or Mills. So spend judiciously and make a unit which repeatedly does well at least in home matches.

  • Steve on May 1, 2017, 15:22 GMT

    Time for disbanding RCB and DD. Drastic changes required for both teams if they want to compete from next year onward. I am certain many well known names of the past will either retire or go unsold if they are foolish enough to list themselves for auction.

  • Shantanu on May 1, 2017, 15:19 GMT

    RCB has been a collective failure this season. Even someone like Kedar Jadhav has not scored hea

  • David on May 1, 2017, 15:08 GMT

    Gayle should have played every game, failing or not. He is not what he was but still a match winner on his day, He is only going to improve the more he plays. Can't understand using Head or Mandeep in his position, when they are doing no better than Gayle is, while failing.

  • Uday on May 1, 2017, 14:32 GMT

    This is for the Black.Bird. As a Mumbai Fan; I feel sorry that your prophecy couldn't come true. But then lets accept that MI is a much better team at the top of the table you see.

  • Vinayak on May 1, 2017, 10:23 GMT

    The first thing that RCB needs to do is to decide on Chris Gayle. If you want him, have him in all the games. When he clicks, he destroys the opposition. If RCB is still happy to accept the fact, stick with it. There is no point in having Gayle in few games, and then dropping him with the excuse of team balance. When such a big player is chosen like that, other players will also have difficult time knowing their own responsibilities.

  • Black on May 1, 2017, 10:18 GMT

    Today kohli is going to make a record. He will score 100+ runs today. And rcb will win this match easily. Mark my words.

  • Jose on May 1, 2017, 10:18 GMT

    Betting woes killed two teams 'the other day'. Batting woes is doing the same for another pair, this time. RCB, surely, is one in the new pair. You may guess, which is the other one. Clue: B'lore figures in both.

    Someone wrote the other day that he hates what looks like riddled lyrics. Thought, why not give him, some more!

  • Dee Pak on May 1, 2017, 9:37 GMT

    So today we have Akash Legend Chopra.. I was missing his commentary since few days ha ha ha

  •   Pradip Duwadi on May 1, 2017, 9:21 GMT

    The main problem is RCB need to play all their foreign stars (ie. Gayle, Watson and ABD). Only one of either Badree or Mills should play... neither of Head or Milne should get the game ahead of the above four....

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