Bangalore’s season of promise ends with a typical climax

back icon
safari
12 Oct 2021 | 08:09 AM
authorBastab K Parida

Bangalore’s season of promise ends with a typical climax

Many punts worked and they seemed like a really balanced unit till it didn't and everything came crashing down

Virat Kohli’s voice almost choked. He had a forced smile on his face, trying too hard while talking to Ian Bishop on air but the mind was at a distant place. “I have tried my best to create a culture here where youngsters could come in and play with freedom and belief. I have given my best. I don't know how the response has been, but I have given 120% to this franchise every time, which is something I will now do as a player.”

Nine seasons, Zero Trophy, but a million memories. It has intruded his melancholic dream, like picking at the scabs of a wound that refuses to heal. But Virat Kohli marches on. Moves to another corner and greets all the KKR players and indulges himself in a long chat with Shubman Gill. While a million RCB fans rolled their eyes over, trying to sympathize, others were having their moment of schadenfreude. 

Questions have been posed for over a decade now. How else could a team with the most talented batsman of our times, the best batsman of our times, and the most destructive T20 batsman of all time fail? How else could a fan flog his hopes back to life year after year? And that’s why the 2021 season hurts for an RCB fan. It was a year they let go of the laggards tag and ran away with the momentum initially. Many punts worked and they seemed like a really balanced unit. But eventually, cricket is a game of who blinks first and RCB are now the first team to have been eliminated among the teams who made it to the playoffs.

The Final Finish

The Virat Kohli-led side, riding on the momentum of the first half, finished third on the points table. They could have been second but the NRR difference pushed them backward in the UAE leg where none of their batters, barring Glenn Maxwell, could use the slowness of the surface to maximum effect. 

What worked

Not making many changes

RCB often are guilty of making too many changes to their side and many former players have called that as the major reason of insecurity. However, in 2021, they were mostly stable. In 14 league encounters, they made just 17 changes to their playing XI, which is 1.2 per match. A few of the changes were forced ones, because of the injuries to the players or unavailability of their overseas players post the break. As a matter of fact, this was the lowest changes per match RCB have made in the last six years. The consistency reaped dividends with players getting more chances to prove their worth and eventually, succeeding as well. 

Improvement in the spin game

With Glenn Maxwell’s injection, RCB bolstered their middle-order and it also helped that they could take the advantage of attacking spinners right from the outset. In fact, RCB were the second-best side in the league phase of the IPL 2021, with a run-rate of 7.6, which is only bettered by CSK’s 8.1. Even though Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal took their own time to settle down at the top, ABD and Maxwell ensured that they weren't left behind. It is purely ironical they were exposed in front of KKR spinners on the Eliminator game to bow out of the championship.

The Big Show

Year after year, Glenn Maxwell returned to IPL, with the hope of recreating his 2014 magic but never materialized. Till he found a spiritual home at RCB, where he teamed up with Kohli and ABD to form a lethal batting order. With 513 runs from 15 matches, Maxwell did everything he could to help RCB. To imagine, he did that at an average of 42.75 and a strike rate of 144.10 makes it worthwhile for his side. 

The death over heroics

As Aakash mentioned in his copy, since the inception of the tournament, RCB’s Achilles’ heels have been their death bowling. Despite picking up 457 wickets, they have conceded runs at 10.1, third-worst in the tournament’s history. However, they were the best bowling unit this season and had the most wickets and the best economy in the death bowling phase this season. Harshal Patel, specifically, took the IPL by storm by bagging six three-wicket hauls and finishing the season with 32 wickets - the joint highest for a bowler in any IPL. 

What didn’t work

The slow starters

Padikkal scored over 400 runs and Kohli scored 405 runs in 15 innings at an average of 28.9. However, their runs came at a strike rate of 125.30 and 119.46 respectively, ensuring RCB middle-order bats had to go crazy right from the outset. The extra pressure forced them to play an extra batter in the middle-order and with Daniel Christian failing as a batter, it didn’t help the cause at all. 

Dire season for Dan Christian

Christian couldn’t just get off the block. He scored a total of mere 14 runs in 7 innings, and even though, his bowling was decent, it could hardly compensate. RCB kept on believing in him and he kept on disappointing. With middle order failing, when the franchise wanted him to step up on Monday night, Christian scored his highest score of the IPL - 9 - and therein dies RCB’s hopes of making it to the qualifier.

Retention Options

Kohli is sure to be retained and RCB might keep Maxwell as well. While the future of de Villiers is uncertain, leaving Harshal and Mohammed Siraj to the auction pool will be a self-defeating move. Yuzvendra Chahal might have lost some of his edges but he is too good a bowler in the format. RCB will be tempted to have him back with the RTM card.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight RidersIndian Premier League, 2021Royal Challengers BangaloreVirat KohliGlenn MaxwellAB de VilliersYuzvendra Chahal

Related Articles

safari
OPINION
IPL 2021 - Team of the Tournament
Five of the 11 players are from the two finalists - Chennai and Kolkata
usercricket.com staff
17 Oct 2021
safari
REPORT
KKR set up clash with DC on back of Sunil Narine's inspired performance
After going till the death, it was KKR, who held their nerves to advance through, to face Delhi Capitals in Qualifier two
usercricket.com staff
11 Oct 2021
safari
OPINION
RCB’s over-dependence on Maxwell is unhealthy and unsustainable
It could be curtains for Kohli’s side in the playoffs if the top-order continues to disappoint
userAnirudh Suresh
06 Oct 2021
safari
NEWS
Virat Kohli to step down as RCB captain after IPL 2021
The IPL 2021 will be Virat Kohli's final season as RCB's captain after leading the side for ten years
usercricket.com staff
19 Sep 2021
safari
OPINION
IPL 2021: Could this actually be RCB's year?
Virat Kohli and Co. won five of their seven encounters in the first half
userHardik Worah
13 Sep 2021
safari
OPINION
RCB cannot afford the new recruits to have a subpar season
Here is a pre-tournament preview of the Royal Challengers Bangalore throwing light on their strengths and deficiencies
userSomesh Agarwal
03 Apr 2021
safari
OPINION
RCB need a gun all-rounder, among other things
A brief analysis on which players Royal Challengers Bangalore can target in the upcoming 2021 IPL auction
userSomesh Agarwal
15 Feb 2021
safari
OPINION
Royal Challengers Bangalore stumble but remain in the race
RCB have reached the playoffs for the first time since 2016 but need a turnaround in form if they are to challenge for the title
userNitin Fernandes
05 Nov 2020
safari
FEATURE
5 Questions every RCB Fan wants to know from Criclytics!
Join us on a number-driven cricket narrative of match 3 of IPL 2020, through the eyes of Criclytics
userKartik Kannan
22 Sep 2020
safari
OPINION
About time RCB get their tactics right
Team Preview – After struggling with their bowling unit for many seasons, RCB have a lot of options to get the required balance this time.
userSomesh Agarwal
16 Sep 2020
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved