What have RCB Done Wrong?
Chris Gayle. Virat Kohli. Yuvraj Singh. AB de Villiers. Albie Morkel. Mitchell Starc. Each and every one of these players is a game-changer in T20 cricket, and has a great reputation of absolutely decimiating oppositions to clinch victories. Inarguably, most IPL franchises would pay big money for any one of these players. But all of them in one team? That’s a “fantasy team legend”…. and the side RCB has this year. When they walked out of the auction with a squad like this most people were convinced that they were favorites for the cup. After all, with that many match winners, someone would get them over the line. However, it has been far from that for the Royal Challengers this year. With 6 losses and 3 wins from 9 games, they now stand at 7th place, just ahead of the Delhi Daredevils. One may ask, how did this happen? Quite understandably too. After all, the chances of Virat Kohli (the man who came out of the T20 World Cup with an average exceeding 100), AB de Villiers (Mr. Awesome), Yuvraj Singh (Stuart Broad’s nightmare), and Chris Gayle (Chris Gayle), fail to make it large? Well, here’s what seems to have happened. Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli have looked very scratchy, and have often given their wickets away cheaply. This is why we have often seen the RCB batting card with 2 in the wickets column well before they would have liked. Also, a scratchy Yuvraj Singh (barring his gallant shows of marvel against RR and DD) has stuck the wheels on RCB, and not allowed them to gain momentum. AB de Villiers has carried too much of the weight, and even he was in indifferent form back in the UAE leg of the tournament, and it took a show against his old buddy Dale Steyn to get him back in color. The other batsmen have done precious little as well, as Parthiv Patel, Rilee Rossuow, Nic Maddinson, Yogesh Takawale, and Sachin Rana all have fallen flat, and not done justice to their selections. Albie Morkel has not looked like the genuine all-rounder he has been known for, as his bowling has not been economic, and his shot selection has been simply terrible, especially considering the situations he often walked into. Mitchell Starc has actually often been smarter as a batsman than he has, and as a result lasted longer at the crease. Their bowling was stellar for the first part, with Yuzvendra Chahal, Starc, and Varun Aaron high in the wickets column. However, in the last two games against KXIP and RR, their fast bowlers received a mauling at the hands of David Miller, James Faulkner, and Steve Smith, and ultimately conceded extremely high totals.
Some potential remedies:
The batting needs to begin to settle. They need to find a combination at the top which can play a calm, composed game to build partnerships, and set a strong foundation for the finishers. Parthiv Patel looked good for this, but effort to try and go big too often in the last few games has sucked him in. Vijay Zol played some very good shots against Rajasthan before he fell, and would not be a bad opening partner for PP, if Gayle is unfit.
The Bangalore track has offered good purchase to spinners. However, the RCB attack – with only one pro spinner – has been unable to take advantage of this. With the poor form of Ashok Dinda, they may want to consider using Shadab Jakati, the experienced left-arm spinner from Goa. He had a good stint with Chennai from the 2008-12 era, and will have plenty to offer for RCB.
If they can do this, RCB might achieve a turnaround, and achieve the already-improbable semifinal berth.