IPL 2017 May 15, 2017

Top guns let Royal Challengers down

Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle misfired this season, and without runs from them Royal Challengers Bangalore unravelled spectacularly

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Hogg: Too much chopping and changing hurt RCB

Where they finished

Eighth, with three wins, ten losses, and one washed out game.

The good

In previous IPL seasons, RCB's bowling line-up did not have the depth, penetration or balance that other teams had. But their deficiencies with the ball were covered up by a strong batting core. And this year they had to do without Mitchell Starc, who opted out of the IPL.

Despite the M Chinnaswamy Stadium's short dimensions, and perhaps it was because the pitch had lost its batting-friendliness, RCB managed to take 37 wickets in six home matches, at an average of 23 and an economy just under eight per over. Two of their three victories - against Delhi Daredevils - came while defending relatively sub-par scores. Spinners Pawan Negi, who they bought this year, and Yuzvendra Chahal topped their wicket-takers list - with 16 and 14 wickets.

If that doesn't sound very good, it was because 2017 was that sort of season for RCB.

The bad

RCB were repeatedly let down by miserable batting performances. In 2016, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers had scored a combined 1660 runs in 32 innings, an average of 66.40 per game. They had been No. 1 and 3 on the run-scorers list. This year, their tally was 524 in 19 innings, an average of 29 per game.

They were both sidelined by injuries for the early part of the season, while Chris Gayle was also a no-show, with only 200 runs in nine innings at a strike-rate of 123.

With RCB's headliners failing to deliver, the rest of the batsmen had a terrific opportunity to influence games. None of them did. Kedar Jadhav was the best of the rest: 267 runs in 13 games at an average of 22.25 and strike rate of 143.

RCB was the only team to average less than 20 runs per wicket and score at less than 7.50 runs per over during the league stage. They were also the worst team in the Powerplay, averaging 41 runs in the first six overs. Every other team averaged more than 48.

After their batting failures in the first half of the season, a lack of confidence and belief started to show in RCB's shot selection. "You have to come out, show intent and back yourselves," Kohli had said after the game against Kolkata Knight Riders. Fear of failure, though, had handicapped them.

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The ugly

RCB had won two out of seven games when they travelled to Kolkata. After rain delayed the start at Eden Gardens, the RCB bowlers limited KKR to 131. With Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers to lead the small chase, RCB were set to get back on track.

However, they collapsed spectacularly for 49, the lowest IPL total and 10th lowest in all T20s. No Royal Challengers batsman reached double digits. Kohli watched aghast from the dug-out. "Our worst batting performance," Kohli said after the game. "It really hurts. Reckless batting, I can't say anything at the moment. It was that bad. This is just not acceptable."

The missing ingredient

Overseas batting depth. When de Villiers was injured and with Gayle misfiring, RCB didn't have batsmen to call on. Shane Watson had his "worst IPL" season too. Travis Head struggled, save his unbeaten 75 against Knight Riders. With their Indian contingent failing consistently, RCB had no chance.

Out of their control

A long list of injuries. KL Rahul didn't play a game. Kohli missed the first three matches. De Villiers didn't play four games, including the first two of the season. Tymal Mills, on whom RCB splurged INR 12 crores at the auction, played only five games.

Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan9910943627 on May 16, 2017, 11:15 GMT

    Kohli is partly to blame for downfall of RCB this IPL season. He told RCB owners to buy Mills but for 12cr when other bowlers like Cummins, Rabada, Coulternile were sold for around 5cr. RCB & DD are those franchises which buy big names for big money & fail to build a complete all round team in the process.

  • Chandru267 on May 16, 2017, 11:06 GMT

    Would love to see a fresh RCB side next year with a different coach and player pool comprising key local players and in form overseas guns.

  • kemukundarajanmukundarajan on May 16, 2017, 8:39 GMT

    To stay afloat in IPL you not only need great players but a captain who can Marshall the resources coolly, motivate the players by self example, a franchisee who gives full freedom to team management, Good coach with able support staff who are involved and a nice home ground with die hard supporters who appreciate good cricket whoever plays it.

    We felt all these qualities in only one team which played in eight consecutive knock outs. So Cricket is 30% technique and talent driven and 70% temperament and man management. It is akin to a service industry.

    All the bottom four teams are as good as top four in 30% area but did not manage the 70% properly. A mediocre performer with bat or ball will produce a match winning performance if his 70% infrastructure is decent.

  • Antony_Lucas on May 16, 2017, 8:05 GMT

    Gayle will find a new home next year at a less glamorous team and be revitalised

  • Hasheem on May 16, 2017, 7:45 GMT

    Tymal Mills was a spectacular failure.

    Look at what Stokes did and what Mills ended up.

    Mills was a criminal waste of Money,Kholi must take the flak for going all out for a Bloke who is best bowling in Natwest and not in a IPL.

  • ziaul8404 on May 16, 2017, 7:43 GMT

    Tymai Miles, who was bought by INR 12 crore was a complete wastage!!!!! Shane Watson, Cris Gale, these two OLDIES super flop!!!!! there was too much task for ABD and Kohli. I think they will go for Fizz next year, to lead their pace bowling department, and take Sabbir Rahman and Tamim Iqbal to replace Gale and Watson. Thats the best option in the hand.

  • Shevahn on May 16, 2017, 7:39 GMT

    They should have bought Asela gunaratne,the find of the season in international cricket. Big miss.

  • cricfan87234705 on May 16, 2017, 7:08 GMT

    pethatic team selection from Day 1

  • Mr_Anonymous on May 16, 2017, 2:46 GMT

    @ESPNFAN59, you maybe right, I don't know the logistics of the player retention rules. However, if all teams were allowed to retain just 3 players (let's say for the sake of argument), I would personally want to retain: 1. Chris Morris and 2 players from amongst: QDK, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Samson, Mohammed Shami, Pat Cummins, Rabada, Duminy. If they pick QDK, they technically don't need Pant or Samson (who can be more valuable to other franchises due to their dual WK/batsman roles) although they might yet choose to retain one of them. Even if they could retain 5 players, there is just no room for all of the players mentioned above and they will have to prioritize who to retain. Also, it is not inconceivable to imagine that retained players may have a high price tag (or a higher lost opportunity cost). Samson was bought for ~4.2 cr and Pant for ~1.9 cr (lower than Chris Morris, Cummins, Rabada). No doubt both are talented but I find it hard to see both retained for next year.

  • EspnFan59 on May 16, 2017, 1:04 GMT

    @MR_ANONYMOUS DD will not give Pant & Samson to anyone. For so long DD didn't have quality players of Indian Team & now they have invested in youngsters which will be in Indian team around 2019 WC so DD will not release them in auction until it's an open auction. If it's an open auction then they will go for Kohli instead.

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