What Went Wrong for RCB this IPL?: A single day alone cannot define the entire journey of a team, just as the defeat against the Gujarat Titans cannot be solely blamed for Bangalore’s disappointing end in the Indian Premier League 2023.
What was the identity of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2023 IPL edition?
They were a team composed of renowned players such as Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, and Mohammed Siraj. However, one might argue that they did not truly function as a cohesive team. Why is that?
What went wrong for RCB?
Kohli, Faf, and Maxwell carrying the weight!
In the IPL, each team has eleven players who should contribute equally throughout the 14 league matches to establish their dominance. Unfortunately, RCB, similar to their historical performance, failed to come together as a united front.
They possessed a batting lineup that heavily relied on a few top-tier players like Kohli, du Plessis, and Maxwell. The rest of the team, comprising players like DK, Anuj Rawat, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mahipal Lomror, and Suyash Prabhudessai, struggled to make a significant impact. Despite their potential, they were not given enough opportunities to shine.
This lack of confidence in the secondary batters proved to be a significant downfall for RCB in this year’s IPL. However, it would be unfair to solely blame the team management, led by Mike Hesson and Sanjay Bangar, for this issue. RCB has a long-standing legacy of over-relying on their star players, which ultimately became their “Royal Challenging” pattern.
Siraj’s performance declined toward the end
Similar to their batting, RCB faced similar challenges with their bowling lineup. They relied heavily on Siraj to tackle formidable opponents. Initially, Siraj thrived under this pressure, showcasing his brilliance and winning matches single-handedly. However, it was natural for his performance to decline as his fuel tank gradually emptied. Particularly towards the business end of the tournament, it happened.
Due to injuries and RCB’s experimental approach, Siraj’s bowling partners with the new ball kept changing. Consequently, the team struggled to establish a consistent bowling composition, except for a game or two.
If one assumes that these were the only issues in 2023, there is more to consider.
Harshal & Vijaykumar – Two persistent headaches
If RCB failed to score well in the death overs, it wasn’t as if they were successful in containing the opposition during the same period. RCB had specific bowlers earmarked for this crucial phase of the game, but their selections did not suit the conditions at Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Harshal Patel, known as India’s best death bowler, gained recognition once again due to RCB. However, it appeared that he was past his prime in the IPL 2023, and the pitch conditions in Bengaluru did not favor his style of bowling. The team management constantly alternated between Harshal and Vijaykumar Vyshak, but neither of them thrived in the challenging conditions at Chinnaswamy.
Paying the price for letting Yuzi go!
For the second time in a row, Bangalore had to face the consequences of letting go of Yuzvendra Chahal. Once again, they attempted to fill the void left by Chahal with another leg-spinner. Karn Sharma started the season well but was quickly replaced by Wanindu Hasaranga. However, the Sri Lankan’s lack of form forced RCB to turn back to Karn, only to see him being dropped again after two underwhelming performances.
That being said, if RCB had managed to come out on top in their match against LSG at Chinnaswamy, or if Faf and Maxy had carried on a bit longer against CSK, or if Phil Salt’s explosive innings had caused significant damage, the outcome might have been different for them.
But can we guarantee success in the knockout stage? We highly doubt it!