The stars shine but don't align for Royal Challengers Bangalore

Kohli, du Plessis, Maxwell and Siraj were all near perfect but the rest of the team let them down

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore

Where they finished

Position on table: Sixth with 14 points, slipping below Rajasthan Royals
Wins: Seven
Losses: Seven
A misfiring middle order and lack of bowling support for Mohammed Siraj meant Royal Challengers Bangalore missed the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. They won more away (four games) than at home, where they conceded 200-plus thrice. Two of those came in losses - to Lucknow Super Giants and Chennai Super Kings - where they let it slip after being in control. That proved to be the difference.

The Good - KGF

Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli finished No. 1 and No. 2 on the run charts for them. Du Plessis was supreme in the powerplay, while Kohli brought out shades of his 2016 vintage - when he made a record 973 runs - in the second half of the season and finished it with back-to-back centuries. Glenn Maxwell played a typically robust game; sometimes he was the momentum injector, and on other occasions, he sustained the top-order tempo. In all, the trio contributed 70.70% of the runs RCB scored this season.

The Bad - Non-existent middle order

It was a merry-go-round in Rajat Patidar's absence. Anuj Rawat, Shahbaz Ahmed, Suyash Prabhudessai, Mahipal Lomror, and later, Kedar Jadhav were all tried. Rawat finally found his form towards the back end, by which time it was too late. Dinesh Karthik had a season to forget.
It wasn't just the misfiring batting that cost them. Barring Siraj, whose ten wickets in the powerplay were the joint second-most in the league, none of the bowlers posed consistent threat. There was only sporadic brilliance, like Wayne Parnell's 3 for 10 in a game where RCB beat Royals by a massive margin to elevate their net run rate.
Harshal Patel's diminishing returns - he conceded runs at 11.50 an over in the death - left RCB skating on thin ice in terms of their bowling resources, especially with Josh Hazlewood and Wanindu Hasaranga down with injuries and form issues. Injuries to Reece Topley and David Willey also didn't help.


Who was the biggest letdown for RCB this season?
13.3K votes
Dinesh Karthik
Mahipal Lomror
Wanindu Hasaranga
Josh Hazlewood

Top Performer - Faf du Plessis

He was a standout performer for RCB all through, even eliciting talk of a potential South Africa comeback in this year's 50-over World Cup in India. Du Plessis' powerplay strike rate of 168.54 was the second best among batters who faced a minimum of 100 balls this season. Seven hundred and thirty runs in 14 innings with eight half-centuries told you how he married consistency with fierce ball striking.

The Highlights

  • The 939 runs Kohli and du Plessis scored together as openers are the joint most by a pair in an IPL, equalling Kohli's 939 runs with AB de Villiers in 2016.
  • Kohli's back-to-back tons helped him surpass Chris Gayle's record (six) for most IPL centuries. Kohli's eight T20 hundreds are the joint-third-most in the format.* Gayle has 22, Babar Azam has nine, while Aaron Finch, David Warner and Michael Klinger have eight each too.
*May 23, 12.30pm GMT: The article had erroneously stated Kohli has seven T20 hundreds. This has been updated.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo