In the first edition of IPL in 2008, most franchises were uncertain about how to handle the shortest format of the game. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) trusted the stalwarts of the longer format, hoping that they would adapt to 20-over cricket. The result was a disaster.
Players like Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, grappled to cope with the requirements of the format, and RCB finished the inaugural season at the second-last place.
However, that diminishing performance became a distant memory as in recent years RCB has played with some better understanding of the game. They have become one of the most exciting and batting heavy teams of the IPL. The likes of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Shane Watson has given strength to their batting line-up.
After seeing that batting heavy unit it’s difficult to digest how the 2017 season has panned out for them. In terms of their batting average and strike rate, this season has been quite similar to the analogous numbers in 2008. In fact, their run rate and balls per boundary are all marginally worse than in 2008, and they have been framing up records for all the wrong reasons.
In 2008, the numbers were not completely disappointing as the nature of batsmen was a bit old school. This time, it has been a shocker of most of the cricketing, especially after reaching finals in 2016. It is true that the unavailability of KL Rahul and early injuries to Kohli and de Villiers has affected them badly, but the turnaround that was expected after their return which has never happened.
The difference from their batting numbers of 2016 couldn’t be any abrupter. Last year, their top order batsmen racked up amazing numbers, scoring almost 42 runs per wicket at a run-rate of 9.62 – both stats being the best by any team in any season of the cash-rich tournament. They also struck a boundary for every 4.90 deliveries, compared to one every 7.18 balls in 2017. The last season of IPL was the best one for RCB, especially in terms of batting stats, but this year they have been showing the worst batting performance in a season.
In 2016, the quartet of Kohli, de Villiers, Gayle, and Watson batted at an average of 43.04 and a strike rate of 155.2 (2066 runs in 1331 balls to be exact). While in this season, they have scored only 585 runs from 485 balls, at an average of 27.86, and a strike rate of 120.6. Skipper Virat Kohli’s has batted at a strike rate of 123, Gayle at 124.6 and de Villiers 125.4.
However, in 2008, the skipper Rahul Dravid batted at the average of 28.53 at a strike rate of 124.5 in 14 innings. With conditions at the Chinnaswamy Stadium not aiding strokeplay either, this has been a tough season for the group of one of the most experienced players. For Royal Challengers, the IPL has been a complete introspection in its tenth edition.