After the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals was washed out last night at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, Virat Kohli’s RCB became the first team to be eliminated from the ongoing IPL. The loyal and passionate fans of the team were once again left gravely disappointed with the team’s performance, wondering where things went wrong.

Out of the 13 games they have played, Bangalore lost 8 game and won only 4. This will be another season now where Bangalore will end at the bottom of the table.

Year after year, season after season, Bangalore have laid out a team which looks strong on paper and which instills hope in their fans that this time their team will go all the way. But barring a couple of seasons – in 2009 and 2016 – RCB have had a dismal record in the IPL. And while Virat Kohli may be putting up a brave front, the excuses are running dry for team RCB.

So why did the Royal Challengers Bangalore falter once again?

Overreliance on Kohli and ABD

Yet again, the RCB batting unit ended up being overly reliant on their two star batsmen – Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers. The two batsmen did the bulk of the scoring for RCB, accumulating 448 and 441 runs respectively. The only other batsman to make an impact was opener and wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel who scored 373 runs at 28.69. The likes of Marcus Stoinis, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Colin de Grandhomme and Akshdeep Nath were disappointing.

What didn’t help was the constant chopping and changing and reshuffling of the batting order. Shimron Hetmyer, the big hitting batsman from West Indies, was discarded completely after a couple of failures. Moeen Ali should have been given a go at the top of the order but he wasn’t allowed to settle into a proper position.

All in all, this was another mediocre show by the RCB batsmen who were once again dependent on their two stars to deliver the goods.

Horrible bowling performance

While RCB has never known to be a good bowling unit, their performance in IPL 2019 was downright horrible. Barring leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who picked up 17 wickets, and young fast bowler Navdeep Saini, who captured 9 wickets, the other bowlers were largely disappointing. Mohammed Siraj, who went for an economy of 9.60, was given multiple opportunities and so was spin bowling all-rounder Pawan Negi who returned with only 3 wickets while going for 9.13.

Umesh Yadav, the leader of the pace attack and the most experienced bowler in the lineup, managed 8 wickets while going for an economy of 9.60. Tim Southee and Colin De Grandhome couldn’t make an impact in the 3 games they featured in and Dale Steyn was injured after making a brief appearance in 2 games.

Surprisingly, Kohli refused to use the services of young spin bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar who has impressed in whatever opportunities he has got in his short career so far. Sundar got to play only 2 games towards the fag end of the tournament was mysteriously dropped for the game against Rajasthan.

Back to the drawing board

It is befuddling how RCB manages to mess up their bowling unit season after season. They seriously need a revamp of sorts and ensure that in the next season they go for some dependable bowlers. Batting stars might win them a few games. But IPL history has shown that it is a good bowling unit that can win you tournaments. It is about time that the RCB management seriously thought it over.

Virat Kohli’s captaincy too wasn’t at its best this season – he made too many selection blunders and his field placements weren’t smart.

One can’t help but think that it is time for Kohli to cool down and take a genuine reassessment of the reality. Perhaps the burden of the Indian captaincy across formats and playing non-stop cricket all over the year is affecting his performance at RCB. Perhaps it is time for him to let go of the leadership duties at the franchise and focus purely as a batsman.

Clearly the RCB management has a lot to mull over for the next season. It would be back to the drawing board for them and one hopes that next year they manage to pick a solid, all-round unit, covering all bases and pray that the team manages to live up to its potential. Bangalore fans deserve that the most.

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