IPL 2019 Season Review: Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore
Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore played their last group matches with different perspectives. Rajasthan Royals were looking to remain in contention for the IPL Playoffs, while Royal Challengers Bangalore looked to end their terrible campaign on a high.
However, a loss to Delhi Capitals saw Rajasthan Royals eliminated with a final standing of 11 points from 14 matches with five wins, eight losses, and one no-result. At the time of writing this article, they are placed sixth.
A win for RCB in their final match against Sunrisers Hyderabad saw them finish with 11 points from 14 matches with the same tally as the Royals. They finished a place lower than Rajasthan due to a worse net run rate of -0.607 compared to Rajasthan's -0.449.
Both these teams had poor seasons characterized by excessive reliance on a few players, lacklustre team selections and bad tactics. Both will go into next year's season with questions to answer over the kind of players they need and the systems that they have in place.
Poor form and patchy performances hurt Rajasthan Royals
A reliance on a few players hurt Rajasthan's performances throughout the season.
Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith, and Jos Buttler were the only batsmen to score over 300 runs, but only Buttler and Smith showed any signs of consistency with three half-centuries each.
Samson's century against Sunrisers Hyderabad was his only score above 50 in the season, while Rahane managed one century and one half-century in his 393 runs for the season.
The inconsistency in batting was not helped by the constant shuffling of batting spots, especially with Rahane alternating between opening batsman and batting at No.3.
The same applied to the bowlers. Shreyas Gopal led with 20 wickets (including one hat-trick), followed by Jofra Archer with 11 wickets and Jaydev Unadkat with 10 wickets. Archer was one of only two bowlers with an economy rate under 7, the other being Stuart Binny.
Using Unadkat as a death bowler backfired constantly, finishing with an economy rate of 10.66. Ben Stokes was worse with an economy of 11.22.
Riyan Parag impressed in the seven matches that he played, while Rahul Tripathi often batted too low in the batting order to make any significant impact. Oshane Thomas also impressed with his pace.
Stability in the batting order and more wicket-taking bowlers will be something Rajasthan would be looking for next year.
The change in captaincy from Rahane to Smith also helped Rajasthan come within touching distance of qualification and is something that should be a long-term consideration.
Another year, another poor season for Royal Challengers Bangalore
So many things went wrong for Royal Challengers Bangalore this year, despite appearing to have a more balanced squad on paper.
Some poor selection decisions - like going in with three pace bowlers on a spinning surface at Chepauk - and bad tactics such as barely bowling Moeen Ali and Pawan Negi when conditions were conducive to spin bowling - hurt Bangalore's performances throughout the season.
As with Rajasthan, reliance on a few players didn't help Bangalore's season either.
Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers led the batting with 464 and 442 runs respectively, followed by Parthiv Patel with 373 runs. Moeen Ali and Marcus Stionis were the only other players with more than 200 runs (220 and 211 respectively).
No other batsman - Shivam Dube, Shimron Hetmyer, Gurkeerat Singh, Heinrich Klaasen, and Akshadeep Nath - managed above 100 runs, although none of them played more than 5 matches.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini led the bowling with 18 and 11 wickets, followed by Mohammad Siraj with seven wickets. Moeen Ali managed six wickets and was the only bowler with an economy rate under 7.
Washington Sundar impressed in the three matches that he played with four wickets and should have played more often.
Poor fielding didn't help their chances either.
More consistency in selection and development of a better bowling attack is something Bangalore should consider.
Better tactical management and reading of conditions would also help considerably. A change in captaincy would also be considered were it not for a lack of alternatives beyond Kohli and de Villiers.
It is clear that changes are needed to avoid more of the same from Bangalore.