If you are one of those thousands of supporters who kept hoping for nine straight seasons for your team to win the trophy but the same repeats year after year, I feel for you. Royal Challengers Bangalore is one of the franchises that attracted huge crowds every season. The stadiums were packed at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in every single game but the results turned in their favor only less frequently.
The tenth edition of the season had been a season to forget for the players and the franchise. With potentially all the players set to go under the hammer next season, it would be interesting to see how the fans respond to it.
“Play Bold” had been the motto of the team ever since they moved out the golden color from their jerseys and instead chose to fix with dark textures of red and black. The green initiative every year received increasing support off-field too. Last season provided the fans with a slim hope that the bad days for the franchise have been done with as team finished as the runners-up.
Pre-Season: Four of the key players from the last season were doubtful at the start of the season. Mitchell Starc separated himself from the team and K L Rahul was announced to not feature in this season to address his long surviving shoulder injury. The franchise had to wait for the fitness of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers leading into the season.
Position: They finished with only 7 points finished at the bottom of the Table. They managed to secure only 3 wins under their belt of the thirteen games they featured in. (The game against SRH was washed out).
The Season: They registered the lowest score in the history of IPL when they were sent rolling for a meager 49 runs in a rain-interrupted game in Kolkata. This was their seventh game of the tournament with two wins under their belt. The next game against the Sunrisers was washed out due to rain. Six games since, Royal Challengers could only manage a consolation win the final game of the tournament.
M. Chinnaswamy Stadium reputed to be a batting paradise failed to live up to the reputation. There was only one instance this season that the teams were able to go beyond 160. In the six games that were played at the venue, the average first innings score stands at 148.3 and the average second innings score is 139.0.
The Team: As many as 21 players represented RCB during this season with only SIX players featuring in more than 9 players. They made a total of 29 changes in the tournament failing to feature the same XI in two consecutive matches at least once.
They have scored 213 runs against the GL in Rajkot in a winning cause and since then it had been a downhill for them having lost all ten wickets in three different instances (vs. Kolkata in Kolkata, vs. Gujarat in Bengaluru and vs. Punjab in Bengaluru).
Their performance in either innings is equally bad. In the second innings, the average score was 158.8 (RR: 7.98 in 5 games) and in the second innings, the average stands at 159.4 (RR: 7.97 in 8 games).
The team that boasts the hardest hitting players in the international circuit never came to the party. Only four players have scored more than 200 runs this season with Virat Kohli leading the list with 308 runs (average: 30.80) followed by Kedar Jadhav (267 runs), AB de Villiers (216 runs) and C Gayle (200 runs)
They had to experiment a lot to get the combination right and in the process no player from top 6 featured in the same position all through the tournament.
Six different openers were used [C Gayle, V Kohli, T Head, S Watson, Mandeep, Vishnu Vinod] with only three pairs featuring more than once. C Gayle and V Kohli had been the popular choice but were considered only for 4 games. C Gayle- Mandeep (3) and V Kohli-Mandeep (2) are the other two popular choices.
M Starc’s separation from the team had left a huge dent on the team’s choice of bowlers with as many as 14 different bowlers used through the tournament. Tymal Mills, who they splashed Rs. 12 Crores never looked the price worth.
Pawan Negi (16 wickets) and Y Chahal (14 wickets) were the only two bowlers to have picked more than 10 wickets during the season. Despite picking the hat-trick, Samuel Badree ended up with only 5 wickets in the next six games he was featured in.
Positives: Pawan Negi had been the only positive from the season for them. He scored 144 runs and picked up 14 wickets this season.
Negatives: Batting collapses have been the feature of this season for RCB. The partnerships were never maintained and being all out in 4 games (of 13) is a clear indication of that failure.
Bottom Line: A season to be erased from the memories.
Image Courtesy: ESPNCricinfo