IPL 2022 Season Review: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Season Follows A Familiar Script In New Year And Captain
Even with a new skipper in South Africa's Faf du Plessis and the renewed hope that comes with a new season, it seems that not a lot has changed for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. They finished at least 3rd this year, a slight improvement on the last couple of seasons. Their nature of blowing hot and cold over a period of time can be sustained in a league phase that lasts for over 70 games but won't be enough to get them over the line in a winner-takes-all playoff game. This proved to be their undoing once again as they were blown away by an inspired Jos Buttler in the 2nd Qualifier, which continues their wait to lift a maiden IPL trophy.
The Bangalore franchise made some key decisions before the start of the tournament by promoting Sanjay Bangar as Head Coach after the former Indian coach acted as their batting consultant in 2021. Mike Hesson continued in his role as Director of Cricket after filling in for Simon Katich in the 2nd leg of last year's tournament.
RCB's retentions were on expected lines as they held on to the services of their premier batsmen in Virat Kohli (₹15 crores) and Glenn Maxwell (₹11 crores). But surprisingly, they picked Mohammed Siraj as their third retention ahead of the likes of Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Going into the auction, RCB needed a new leader as Virat Kohli announced that he was giving up the captaincy last year. Bangalore managed to get the experienced Faf du Plessis at the auction and handed over the reins of the team to the South African. They also paid big bucks for the likes of Wanindu Hasaranga, Josh Hazlewood, and Harshal Patel.
With Virat, Maxwell, and Du Plessis in the batting department, and Harshal, Hasaranga, and Hazlewood taking care of the bowling, RCB looked like a formidable unit capable of lifting the trophy.
They started the tournament with a performance that resembled the RCB sides of the past as they lost against the Punjab Kings after scoring a mammoth 205 in the first innings. They came back pretty well, winning five of their next six games, which made them strong contenders for a playoff spot.
As things were going well, Bangalore once again showed their keenness for some drama as they lost their next three games, which included a 68 all-out against the Sunrisers. This put them in a state of bother, but with three wins and some help from the Mumbai Indians, they managed to finish in the top four for the third consecutive season.
They finally broke their eliminator hoodoo by beating LSG thanks to a Rajat Patidar century and some brilliant death bowing from Harshal Patel. But RCB's tendency to have a bad game once in a while, where the entire team looks lost and deflated, came at the wrong time as they were knocked out by the Rajasthan Royals.
What Worked For Them?
Harshal Patel and Wanindu Hasaranga
After some terrific performances for his country, Wanindu Hasaranga finally got his chance on the IPL stage and the Sri Lankan did not disappoint. It was a breakthrough tournament for the leg-spinner, who was only behind Yuzvendra Chahal in the purple cap charts with 26 wickets.
Batsmen failed to read the Sri Lankan due to his fast-arm action and his googly, in particular, was very effective. He mostly targeted the stumps, bringing both edges into play. The Sri Lankan's high point of the season was the hat trick he took against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Harshal Patel did not fall prey to second-season syndrome after a breakout season last year, where he picked up 32 wickets. The willy fast bowler picked up 19 scalps at an economy of 7.66. He bowled mostly in tandem with Hasaranga in the middle overs, and the pair were the reason RCB picked up 47 wickets in that phase, the most by any team. Harshal has been one of the best death bowlers in the tournament, where he conceded less than 9 runs per over along with his 10 wickets.
Dinesh Karthik's batting at the death
We have seen a rejuvenated Dinesh Karthik this year as the Tamil Nadu batsman has been the bedrock of Bangalore's batting this season. After a couple of tumultuous seasons at the Kolkata Knight Riders, Karthik got a new lease of life at RCB, scoring 330 runs at an average of 55. His strike rate of 183.3 is the highest for any batter in the tournament.
Along with Karthik, Faf du Plessis and Rajat Patidar have been the standouts in the batting department. Skipper Du Plessis finished as the franchise's leading run-scorer with 468 runs, while Patidar played two important knocks in the playoffs, scoring 333 runs in 7 games.
What Went Wrong?
Retentions Not Firing
RCB's three retentions Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, and Mohammed Siraj endured disastrous campaigns. After being relieved of captaincy duties this year, Virat was expected to fire on all cylinders for Bangalore but the former Indian skipper had a torrid time with the bat. Virat had one of the worst seasons of his IPL career, finishing with 341 runs at an average of 22.73 while scoring at a meager 115.99. His tally of 341 runs makes it his 2nd worst campaign in terms of runs scored since 2011, the other occasion being 2017, where he played only 10 games. While the last time he had a worse strie rate was in 2012 when he scored at a rate of 111.65.
Glenn Maxwell fared slightly better with 301 runs at 27.36. The Australian all-rounder missed the first couple of games due to national duties and struggled for consistency. His strike rate of 169.10 wasn't an issue, but he failed to covert his starts, scoring just 1 fifty.
Mohammed Siraj has been a real disappointment to the management, who have backed the pacer for a while now. Siraj's tally of 9 wickets in 15 matches at more than 10 runs an over doesn't do justice to his price tag. He was conceding at 10.22 in the powerplay and 13.27 at the death. He also got the unwanted record of conceding the highest number of sixes in a season with 31.
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