Virat Kohli's men have four wins in five games and a positive net run rate, and are only a few wins away from sealing their place in the playoffs. While new signings Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson and Harshal Patel have been impressive for the most part, young Devdutt Padikkal has been a breath of fresh air at the top of the order.
However, there are a few kinks RCB need to iron out before they take on the Delhi Capitals on April 27. Here are 3 areas of concern RCB need to address ahead of Match 22 of IPL 2021.
Check out the upcoming matches on the IPL 2021 timetable here.
#3 RCB are over-reliant on their top order
In the four games RCB won, their batting lineup was their biggest contributor. To be more specific, the foursome of Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers scored the bulk of the runs for RCB.
But the rest of the lineup - Dan Christian, Washington Sundar, Rajat Patidar and Shahbaz Ahmed - haven't delivered despite getting opportunities to spend time in the middle. The weak underbelly that is the middle order was exposed against CSK, who dismissed the big four without too many runs on the board and made light work of the rest.
To address this issue, RCB have already tried using certain batsmen at No. 3 and fielding AB de Villiers at No. 5 below Glenn Maxwell. And while the strategy has paid off so far, it might not be sustainable in the long run.
Given how impactful Padikkal has been since walking into the team, RCB might want to consider moving Kohli back down to No. 3 and opening with either Mohammed Azharuddeen or Patidar.
#2 RCB's spinners haven't been able to make an impact
RCB's leading wicket-taker in franchise history, Yuzvendra Chahal has only 3 scalps in 5 IPL 2021 games at an economy rate of 8.58. Even in Chennai, which threw up slow, turning pitches, he couldn't provide regular breakthroughs.
Washington Sundar has bowled only 12 overs in IPL 2021, over the course of which he has taken 3 wickets at an economy rate of 7.5. Kohli has been hesitant to use the off-spinner in the powerplay, and Sundar hasn't bowled many overs on the trot in the middle overs either.
Shahbaz Ahmed has been used even more sparingly. He has sent down 3 overs in the 4 matches he has played, with his 3-wicket haul against the Sunrisers Hyderabad being the only contribution with the ball. Glenn Maxwell has bowled two overs and conceded 24 runs without picking up a wicket.
These numbers show that RCB's spinners haven't been able to make an impact in IPL 2021. As the pitches get slower with time in the tournament, Chahal and Sundar in particular need to step up.
#1 RCB have struggled to strike the right balance
Only five games into the tournament, RCB have made a number of changes to their playing XI.
Rajat Patidar has played two innings at No. 3 without much success, while Dan Christian has recorded scores of 1 in each of his three innings in IPL 2021. The Aussie all-rounder has picked up only 1 wicket as well, and could make way for Daniel Sams.
But that might not solve RCB's problems with balance. Kane Richardson played one game before pulling out of the tournament, and Shahbaz Ahmed lost his place in the XI against CSK despite performing well whenever called upon. Navdeep Saini was unimpressive in his first outing this year, while Washington Sundar hasn't offered much with either bat or ball.
With all three of RCB's all-rounders - Sundar, Christian and Kyle Jamieson struggling, the playing XI doesn't wear a balanced look. Kohli opted to field five pacers in the CSK encounter, and the batting department was hit heavily by a lack of depth.
They're running out of options too, after the withdrawals of Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa. Sams might be their last hope at striking the right balance, and Sundar and Jamieson must come good for RCB at the earliest.