Another IPL season without a trophy for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. RCB has been eliminated from IPL 2023 despite being in the playoff race for an extended period.
The team lost Match 70 against the Gujarat Titans, the table-toppers, allowing MI to secure the 4th playoff spot. The outcome was highly disappointing, seeing how Virat Kohli scored back-to-back centuries to support the team.
However, Shubhman Gill returned the favor with a century for GT, chasing down 198 comfortably. Now that the season is over for RCB let’s see what went wrong for the star-studded team.
Besides three RCB batsmen, no player even crossed 150 runs in IPL 2023 shows what went wrong for the team.
The Challengers were led by the trio of Faf (730 runs), Kohli (639 runs), and Maxwell (400 runs). The team showcased moments of brilliance that helped them stay in contention for the playoff spot until the final league match.
However, they could not sustain the momentum, resulting in costly losses.
Despite their top three batsmen firing on all cylinders, RCB failed to maintain consistency. It was only Faf du Plessis who scored runs consistently for the team. Faf only scored under 40 twice, scoring six half-centuries and two 40+ scores.
The batsman was the fantasy player’s first pick on many cricket betting sites throughout the season and always stood true to his reputation.
However, both Kohli and Maxwell struggled to put out decent numbers for RCB on multiple occasions. Other than two back-to-back centuries and three half-centuries, Kohli also scored 18 (19), 1 (4), 0 (1), and 6 (4) in crucial matches.
Maxwell did relatively worse, scoring 11 (5) and 5 (3) in must-win matches, putting pressure on the team. While the team still scored reasonable totals in the games, a helping hand from Maxwell would have added 20–30 additional runs.
This lack of consistency proved fatal against GT, where RCB scored 197, even with Kohli scoring a century.
The T20 cricket format is unfavorable to bowlers, and IPL 2023 proved it yet again. Other than GT and CSK, no bowling lineup maintained consistency and a decent average run rate this season.
The situation was even worse for RCB, as they surrendered 200+ scores five times. Multiple times, the bowlers even failed to safeguard these scores. Mohammed Siraj, who took 19 wickets at a respectable average, was the team’s only ray of hope.
Every other RCB bowler was thrashed throughout the season. The team also lost Hazlewood during the first half of the season, along with Reece Topley, to injuries. Their absence left a huge hole RCB failed to fill throughout IPL 2023.
RCB even failed to capitalize on its bowlers’ efforts with ordinary fielding moments. This straight-up cost them games, like Match 36 against KKR.
Harshal Patel dropped an easy catch in the game, while Nitish Rana was given two lifelines. The player scored 48 off 21 balls, helping the Knight Riders achieve 200.
Even renowned fielders like Kohli missed catches while their misfielding cost 10–15 runs in the cricket match against GT.
Lack of Depth
After the top three RCB batsmen were dismissed, no player showcased even a hint of form or intent.
After Faf, Kohli, and Maxwell, Dinesh Karthik was the team’s fourth-highest scorer with 140 runs in 13 matches. After Mahipal Lomror scored 135 runs in 12 matches, the batters failed to reach 100 runs for the remainder of the season.
RCB lost Rajat Patidar, their star middle-order batsman, to injury even before the competition began. This cost the team, as they failed to find any saving grace in the middle order.
While being the two standout performers for the team, Faf and Kohli struggled with the captaincy.
The RCB’s management alternately assigned Faf and Kohli the position of captain. This placed pressure on both players and disrupted the rhythm of the team. While this pressure did not affect their batting performance, neither player was able to inspire any new players.
For example, after losing Deepak Chahar and Ben Stokes to injuries, the Dhoni-led CSK squad produced a wicket-taker in the form of Tushar Deshpande. The bowler is currently competing for the Purple Cap with 20 wickets.
RCB failed to capitalize on their young talent on both the batting and bowling fronts. The management failed to deal with the spots left by injured players, which disrupted the team’s overall balance.
Lack of Adaptability
RCB’s lack of adaptability stemmed from their players’ inexperience. Aside from Kohli, Faf, and Siraj, every player failed to change their game according to the pitch and the game.
Even Maxwell’s shot selection during clutch games put RCB under pressure. Moreover, the team could not find decent spinners, forcing them to rely on pacers even on spin-friendly pitches.
There is no doubt that RCB also fell prey to the insurmountable pressure on them. The team has boasted some of the biggest names in T20 cricket history, such as Ab de Villers, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Gayle, Faf du Plessis, etc.
Even then, the team has only qualified for the playoffs on eight occasions. They reached the finals thrice, failing to win even one IPL trophy in 15 seasons. The pressure of not winning with the biggest fanbase rooting for the team also caught up with players on multiple occasions.
RCB is now out of IPL 2023 after registering a rollercoaster performance. The team won 7 of its 14 matches, picking up pace at the end stage of the game.
The team relied heavily on its top order without support from middle-order batters and bowlers. On top of it, RCB lost multiple players to injuries and failed to fill the spot with suitable players.
This, combined with the growing pressure of never winning, built up for the team. The team succumbed to pressure, with Siraj, Faf, Kohli, and Maxwell doing the heavy work. Now that the team has ended another season without a trophy, maybe it will shift its focus to nurturing young talent and middle-order batsmen.