The Royal Challengers Bangalore's IPL 2020 campaign came to a disappointing end as they crashed out of the tournament with a 6-wicket loss to the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator.
It was a season that started with a lot of promise for RCB, as they won 5 out of their first 7 games and later 7 out of their first 10. But things took a turn for the worse, as they suffered defeats in their next 4 league games.
At one stage, it seemed like they'd cruise into the top 4, but they ended up barely edging past KKR on Net Run Rate. Their happiness at having qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2016 was cut short by the fact that they were shown the door after losing their 5th game in a row.
Click here to see IPL 2020 points table.
RCB have always been a team in the spotlight. With big names like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in their ranks, and one of the most passionate fanbases behind them, all eyes are on them.
The expectations have always been high with this franchise, but year after year, fans are let down. While the supporters have had a lot more to cheer about this year, the disappointment of their team being eliminated will sting no less. Here are 3 things that went wrong for Virat Kohli's men this season.
#3 RCB's failed bet on Aaron Finch
Since Chris Gayle's exit from the franchise in 2018, RCB have lacked an explosive opening batsman who could get them runs reliably at the top of the order.
Aaron Finch did seem like the perfect fit for the role. You can't blame RCB for hedging their bets on him, as he was a seasoned campaigner with a lot of experience and a proven record in T20 cricket.
The one blemish on Finch's profile was that he had a very average record in the IPL. Unfortunately for RCB, Finch's poor run in the IPL continued, as he ended another season without being able to translate his international success into performances in the IPL.
Finch ended the season with 268 runs from 12 games at a strike rate of 111.2 and an average of 22.33, which was in stark contrast to his strike rate of 154.65 and average of 38.44 in T20Is. Moreover, the Aussie white-ball captain also had one of the highest dot-ball percentages for batsmen in this year's tournament.
With just 1 fifty to his name from 12 innings, RCB's investment in Aaron Finch most certainly did not pay off.
#2 RCB's middle-order muddles
RCB have always been known as a team that possesses great batting strength. However, it was RCB’s top 4 that did all the hard work and scored a disproportionate amount of runs all along.
RCB’s flimsy middle order was exposed this season, as they failed to shoulder any responsibility and didn't put up a fight when it was needed from them. This was clearly reflected in the fact that RCB had the lowest run-rate in the middle overs amongst all the teams this season.
RCB’s over-reliance on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers meant that they could not bat with the freedom they would have liked to, as the prospect of a batting collapse was always on their mind.
RCB’s inexperienced middle order, consisting primarily of Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar, failed to back their star batsmen up. Moving forward, RCB will have to think about bulking up their middle order with some proven match-winners.
#1 Virat Kohli's waxing and waning form
Undoubtedly, Virat Kohli’s contributions with the bat play a pivotal role in determining RCB's successes and failures. However, it's very rare that Kohli is associated with failure.
While this season might not have been an outright failure for the beloved RCB skipper, it certainly wasn’t a season he’ll remember, because he certainly didn't live up to his own lofty standards.
Kohli looked like a shadow of himself at the start of the season, with scores of 14, 1 and 3 from the first 3 games. While he did go back to being himself in the middle of the campaign, his form started to wane again towards the back end of the tournament.
Kohli registered scores of 9, 7, 29 and 6 in RCB’s last 4 games, and finished the season with 466 runs from 15 games at an average of 42.36 and a strike rate of 121.35. If it were anybody other than Virat Kohli, those are fantastic numbers. But because he sets the bar so high for himself, it's safe to say that he wasn’t at his best this season.
Published 07 Nov 2020, 13:04 IST