Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have been struck with another big blow as Rajat Patidar, a vital cog in their success last year, has been ruled out of the entirety of the IPL 2023. Initially, the franchise hoped for his return in the second half, but on Tuesday (April 4th), RCB confirmed that he would be out for the whole season.
Patidar came in as Luvinth Sisodia's replacement in the second half of the IPL 2022. Before his inclusion, Bangalore had played eight matches in that season, and their top order was in a muddle. Faf du Plessis had a decent record, scoring 255 runs at an average of 31.9 and a strike rate of 130.1.
However, the other two batters, Virat Kohli and Anuj Rawat strived for runs. While Kohli scored 119 runs at an average of 17 and a strike rate of 122.7, Anuj had 129 runs at 16.1 and 109.3. Cumulatively, Bangalore's top order (1-3) averaged 21.9 and lost a wicket every 17.4 balls.
However, it was not only about their average — the run rate was also on the slower side.
From the start of the tournament until April 25, 2022, Bangalore's top order had scored at a run rate of 7.3, the joint lowest among all teams. They had hit a boundary every 6.7 balls, the second worst among all teams.
What changed after Patidar's inclusion?
There was a drastic change in numbers after his arrival. A team whose top order was scoring at 7.3 saw its run rate go up to 8.0. The batting average also shot up to 37.6 from 21.9.
In his six innings as a top-order batter, Patidar scored a whopping 312 runs at an average of 62.4 and a strike rate of 153.7. Among top three batters with 250+ runs, Patidar was the only batter to average 50+ and strike at 150+. In seven innings, Patidar scored 333 runs at an average of 55.5 and a strike rate of 152.8.
The spin basher
Faf or Kohli are not the spin hitters they were earlier, especially Kohli. In the 2022 edition of the IPL, Kohli scored just over 100 runs at a strike rate of 108.1 against spinners. 2022 was not an anomaly by any means as in the IPL since 2020, his strike rate has stayed below 110 against the spinners every season (excluding 2023).
Then came Patidar. In IPL 2022, he scored at a strike rate of 176.8 against the tweakers when no other Bangalore top-order batter struck over 130. He hit a boundary every 4.3 balls when the next best was 7.5 by Faf. Overall, he had a strike rate of 172.9 against spinners.
Last season, among batters with 150+ runs against spin, no batter had a strike rate as high as Patidar. His balls/boundary ratio of 4.6 was the second-best in this category. To emboss more, he had hit a six every eight balls, the best for a batter.
Patidar's batting was way more than just boundary-hitting, though. His strike rotation was also impeccable, his dot-percentage of 22.9% — the second-lowest among all batters (150+ runs) — bears testimony of it.
Kohli had no problem facing Mumbai Indians' spinners in their opener. Nevertheless, as the tournament goes by and the surface slows down, that is when the actual test will begin for him. The same goes for Faf.
The bigger picture for Bangalore is that, apart from Maxwell, they do not have a spin-basher like Patidar. Kohli and Faf might average better against them, but their strike rate leaves a lot to be desired.
Adding to their woes, Dinesh Karthik has a horrendous record against spinners, especially leg-spinners. In the IPL since 2020, Karthik averages 15 and strikes at 111.5 against spin compared to 34.8 and 164.3 against pace. Eight of those 15 dismissals have come against leggies at an average of five and a strike rate of 74.1.
Against a quality spin bowling side, the absence of Patidar could be the biggest hurdle for the Bangalore team.
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