One loss led to another and before Royal Challengers Bangalore knew it, their season was over even before it began. Few teams can recover after losing their first six games and so it was with Virat Kohli and Co.

All the talk at the start of the season was how AB de Villiers and Kohli would need support from the other players but as the losses piled up, the RCB skipper was quick to pull the trigger and make changes to the playing XI.

Some might reckon that they made too many changes – to the batting order, to the bowling line-up and even to the players. The fringe players struggled to find any rhythm even as the big guns had middling seasons at best.

Given how RCB find themselves stuck in a perpetual rut, it is time for Kohli, Gary Kirsten and the team as a whole to do some serious introspection.

Royal Challengers Bangalore results in IPL

Opposition Scores Result
Chennai Super Kings RCB: 70 [17.1]
CSK: 71/3 [17.4]
Chennai Super Kings won by 7 wickets
Mumbai Indians MI: 187/8 [20]
RCB: 181/5 [20]
Mumbai Indians won by 6 runs
Sunrisers Hyderabad SRH: 231/2 [20]
RCB: 113 [19.5]
Sunrisers Hyderabad won by 118 runs
Rajasthan Royals RCB: 158/4 [20]
RR: 164/3 [19.5]
Rajasthan Royals won by 7 wickets
Kolkata Knight Riders RCB: 205/3 [20]
KKR: 206/5 [19.1]
Kolkata Knight Riders won by 5 wickets
Delhi Capitals RCB: 149/8 [20]
DC: 152/6 [18.5]
Delhi Capitals won by 4 wickets
Kings XI Punjab KXIP: 173/4 [20]
RCB: 174/2 [19.2]
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 8 wickets
Mumbai Indians RCB: 171/7 [20]
MI: 172/5 [19]
Mumbai Indians won by 5 wickets
Kolkata Knight Riders RCB: 213/5 [20]
KKR: 203/5 [20]
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 10 runs
Chennai Super Kings RCB: 161/7 [20]
CSK: 160/8 [20]
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 1 run
Kings XI Punjab RCB: 202/4 [20]
KXIP: 185/7 [20]
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 17 runs
Delhi Capitals DC: 187/5 [20]
RCB: 171/7 [20]
Delhi Capitals won by 16 runs
Rajasthan Royals RCB: 62/7 [5]
RR: 41/1 [3.2]
No Result
Sunrisers Hyderabad SRH: 175/7 [20]
RCB: 178/6 [19.2]
Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 4 wickets

What worked

Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Parthiv Patel were the mainstays in the RCB batting line-up; between them, they scored nearly 65% of the team’s runs. That was expected and Patel, at the top of the order, was in consistently good knick giving RCB fast starts. Moeen Ali was another batsman who found some form towards the end of his stay.

From the bowling point of view, Yuzvendra Chahal was his usual wicket-taking self and Navdeep Saini announced himself to India with some scorching spells of fast bowling.

What didn’t work

Too many changes. Shimron Hetmyer played five matches – with RCB choosing to keep him on the bench despite playing a few matches with just three overseas players. Colin de Grandhomme (4), Gurkeerat Singh (3), Pawan Negi (7), Akshdeep Nath (8), Heinrich Klaasen (3) were part of the same revolving door policy that Kohli likes to apply.

Perhaps it showcased a lack of planning at the start of the season. Most of the other top teams identify their top players and back them to the hilt. Case in point: Shane Watson at Chennai Super Kings or even Keiron Pollard at Mumbai Indians.

Kohli’s team was also held back by his luck at the toss. They lost 10 tosses this season and sometimes, the small things add up.

Player of the season

This is a tough one to pick but Moeen Ali’s all-round show makes him their player of the season. However for some reason, Kohli just didn’t utilise him enough. There were matches in which he didn’t bowl his full quota of overs, there were even matches when he didn’t bowl despite playing [vs KKR on April 5 and vs CSK on April 21]. Then, there were games where Akshdeep Nath was sent above him in the batting order. Baffling choices by Kohli but despite that Moeen found a way to shine with both bat and ball.

Disappointment of the season

Umesh Yadav had a season to forget. He took 20 wickets last season at an economy of 7.86. This season, he took just eight wickets at an economy of 9.80. He, frankly, didn’t look like a player who plays for India. During the season, he spoke about how not playing for the country has impacted his confidence. Still, his poor performance hit RCB in a big way. With Umesh struggling, there was no one to guide the younger seamers. Dale Steyn’s performance in the two matches he played showed what role Umesh could have played.

Batting stats of key RCB players in IPL 2019

Player Matches Runs Average
Virat Kohli 14 464 33.14
AB de Villiers 13 442 44.20
Parthiv Patel 14 373 26.64
Moeen Ali 11 220 27.50
Stoinis 10 211 52.75

Bowling stats of key RCB players in IPL 2019

Player Matches Wickets Economy rate
Yuzvendra Chahal 14 18 7.82
Navdeep Saini 13 11 8.27
Umesh Yadav 11 8 9.80
Mohammad Siraj 9 7 9.55
Moeen Ali 11 6 6.76

Going forward

RCB have to plan better. They need to have strategies in place and let every player know exactly what is expected of them. Perhaps, Kohli was too focussed on the World Cup this season but given how RCB has been struggling over the last few seasons, he needs to go all in.

For now, an immediate concern would be the bowling. They leaked too many runs and didn’t take enough wickets. The batting is fine but RCB need to back it and show confidence in the batsmen to come good.

And most of all, they need to start the season well and then build from there. Lose too many at the start and coming back is never easy.