Sanjay Bangar, the head coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, was reflective about his team’s performance after RCB were knocked out of the tournament by table toppers Gujarat Titans. Rain delayed the start of the match in the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru but Virat Kohli hit his second successive hundred as the home team scored 197/5 for GT to chase.
Shubman Gill surpassed Kohli’s efforts to steer his team to victory with an unbeaten 104 off 52 balls.
Describing his review of RCB’s season, Bangar said, “I think we were pretty consistent throughout the season but we could not finish some key phases in some games. (Today) on the pitch, we got a competitive score but Shubman and Vijay Shankar took the game away from us.”
Although the top order of Kohli, captain Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell were successful this season, the lower order was unable to support the strong starts. Dinesh Karthik, in particular, who got out for a duck for the fourth time this season, was not able to replicate his 2022 form. Compared to a solid 330 runs that the middle-order batter racked up last season, Karthik managed only 140 runs this term.
RCB were plagued by injuries as well, especially in the bowling department. From Reece Topley to Josh Hazlewood and Rajat Patidar, Bangar has had to shuffle players around which yielded mixed results. “We’ve had a lot of injuries, even (among) our replacements. We kept fighting with whatever resources we had but we missed a couple of key resources in the bowling department, for example: Josh was only able to play for three games,” the former India allrounder said.
Bangar commented that the absence of Patidar could have also been attributed to the batting order underperforming this season.
“Last season, the scoring was done by the bulk of the lower order in Shabaz and Dinesh Karthik. This season, the opportunities for the lower order were limited – DK had a season which was probably below his standard. If he had clicked in a couple of games, that would have meant we would have added 15-20 runs to our score in the crunch games that would have been the difference between winning and losing – our contributions in the last five overs (in some games) hurt us a bit,” Bangar said.
When asked to comment on the contributions of the younger players like Vijaykumar Vyshak and Mahipal Lomror, Bangar complimented the franchisee’s scouting system for bringing up players like Patidar while also stressing on the need to remain patient and continue to invest time in them. Both Lomror and Vyshak, according to Bangar, had good seasons by their standards, but the former could have been more consistent.
“We have to find answers to why we can’t take that last couple of steps needed to fulfil a long cherished dream, not just for the team, but for the support the team gets from across the country and more so in Bengaluru,” he said.
For Bangar and RCB, the end of the season will call for going back to the drawing board to reflect on missed chances, rebuilding their bowling department and looking to maintain that same consistency that saw them qualify for the play-offs in the three of the last four seasons.