The Royal Challengers Bangalore gave a decent account of themselves in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 season. The Faf du Plessis-led RCB reached the playoffs as the fourth-placed team in the league stage. They beat Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator before being beaten by Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 2. Overall, RCB will be pleased to see the things that went in a positive direction for them. They will want to build on the performance of IPL 2022 and perhaps aim to go the distance in IPL 2023. Here we present RCB’s report card.
League stage status and points
In the league stage, RCB finished fourth, having played 14 games. They collected eight wins and suffered six losses. With 16 points and an NRR of -0.253, it was enough for the Challengers to make it to the playoff stage. RCB started their campaign by losing against Punjab Kings. They went on to beat KKR, RR, and MI in the next three games. RCB suffered another defeat versus CSK before downing the Delhi Capitals. This was followed by a win against LSG and a defeat to SRH. They suffered successive defeats against RR and GT. They won three of their last four league games.
Eliminator joy and Qualifier 2 heartbreak
In the Eliminator, RCB were superb versus LSG, gaining a 14-run win. They managed 207/4, riding on Rajat Patidar’s century, and then restricted LSG to 193/6. However, Qualifier 2 saw them suffer a one-sided defeat. RCB managed 157/8 as RR chased down the target with seven wickets to spare.
RCB’s performance across powerplay, middle, and death overs
As per ESPNCricinfo, RCB managed 696 runs in the powerplay overs. They struck at 108.85 and clocked a run rate of 7.25. They did well in the middle overs (7-15), scoring a total of 1,331 runs. In the death overs, they racked up 605 runs at 10.93 runs per over (SR 172.37).
Skipper Faf du Plessis scored the most runs during the powerplay (201). However, he had a poor strike rate of 104.68. Patidar (226) scored the most runs in the middle overs, and veteran Dinesh Karthik (242) did well at the death. Josh Hazlewood was highly influential in the powerplay in terms of bowling, taking seven wickets at an economy of 6.84. Wanindu Hasaranga (20) and Harshal (nine) chipped in with the most number of scalps in the middle and death overs.
The key performers for RCB
Faf du Plessis scored the most runs for the Challengers, getting 468 runs while averaging 31.20 (three fifties). Rajat Patidar (333) averaged above 50 and did well at number three when presented with the chance. Dinesh Karthik (330) averaged 55.00. He won the side several games with a strike rate of 183.33.
With the ball, Lankan ace Wanindu Hasaranga dazzled for the side with 26 wickets while averaging a mere 16.53. He took the second-highest number of wickets in IPL 2022. Aussie seamer Josh Hazlewood managed to take 20 wickets at 18.85. IPL 2021 Purple Cap winner Harshal Patel was quite effective, pocketing 19 scalps as well.
Positives for RCB
The leadership was a pivotal factor, given Faf took charge after Virat Kohli stepped down last year. In his maiden campaign for RCB, the Proteas star did a reasonable job and handled his side well. He knew the strengths of his side and backed players to express themselves.
The emergence of an uncapped player like Patidar was a success story. He could become a pivotal figure going forward for the Challengers. He showed a lot of nerves in the playoffs and handled the pressure well. He was a bright spot in this RCB side. Credit should also go to Karthik for showing he is still capable and has some more years under his belt. He can be a big help to youngsters.
Hasaranga was at his sublime best, and the consistency he showed was terrific. He mixed things nicely and was amongst the wickets. In his full season, RCB banked on the mystery spinner. A seasoned campaigner like Hazlewood was a top gun. He stuck to his length and line and hardly set a foot wrong. 20 wickets will please the Aussie star.
Overall, the side has some notable performers who can form the crux in the coming years.
What went missing?
Virat Kohli was not at his best, and RCB needed him like they do every season. With Kohli continuously failing and managing just three fifties, it somehow derailed RCB. They fell short in several games with the bat, and Kohli’s runs were a miss. Often RCB have the habit of going cold in games, and we saw that in the match versus SRH, where they folded for 67.
The idea of retaining someone like Mohammed Siraj was baffling at the start, and it showed why. He not only conceded the most sixes but was so poor throughout. Siraj proved to be a weak link in RCB’s armor, and he shouldn’t have played in the playoffs. This is where the judgment of Faf and the management fell short.
What can RCB do better?
RCB have a sketch of the side they want to throw into the field, but they need a bit more depth in the batting department. Therefore, when the trading window opens, RCB will look to identify some key players who can be drafted in and would be available. In the IPL 2023 auction, RCB will aim to strengthen perhaps a bit in their outlook of having a bit more muscle. RCB will also need to bat well next season and would hope stars like Kohli and Maxwell get going.
Report card marks
Out of 10, RCB get a rating of 8 this season. The players responded to Faf, and the bowling improved drastically compared to the last few years. The fielding was on the positive side, and there was a sense of belief when it mattered.