What’s the similarity between Kingfisher Airlines and Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)?
Yes, apart from having the same owner- both took off in style in their respective dimensions- tagged with fame, glitz and glamour, their initial year’s was like a honeymoon period- but it’s all done and dusted. Both are struggling for their survival.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore once again had a miserable IPL season which ended with a whimper. They had one of the strongest batting line-ups but failed to click as a unit. The team missed out on the play offs for the third consecutive year. They finished at the second last position.
It would be appropriate to say that they once again dished out a performance that is a throwback to their past IPL performances where they have flattered to deceive. While other teams recovered from their disappointing start to the IPL-7, RCB suffered a slide following a promising start which they failed to arrest.
The team began their campaign in United Arab Emirates (UAE) with two convincing wins, but the last over loss to Kolkata Knight Riders, when Chris Lynn took a beauty of a catch at the boundary to dismiss ABD, changed the momentum.
Things went haywire for RCB, as they were in for another shock, when the team was bundled up for just 70 runs against Rajasthan Royals. This triggered a poor run that included six defeats in seven games- something they ultimately never recovered from.
The auctions of the seventh edition were held earlier this year in February and like always Vijay Mallya’s side chipped in with the most expensive player of the tournament, southpaw Yuvraj Singh who came at a staggering Rs 14 crore ($2.3 million).
This was expected to add more firepower to the arsenal of Bangalore as they had already retained Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle.
De Villiers managed to bail out Bangalore in one game and Yuvraj, after an initial struggle came to the party with some good innings.
However, despite some individual performances they struggled as a team and that now seems a disservice to their fans, as the side could only manage 5 wins out of 14.
Their biggest weapon, half fit Chris Gayle, had a very forgettable campaign, accumulating 196 runs from nine innings. Virat Kohli, last season’s highest run-getter, too, was far below par.
Vijay Mallya said at the auctions that bowling was an area Bangalore would address. They did well to pouch Mitchell Starc and Yuzvendra Chahal, but the remaining bowlers hardly covered themselves with glory. Conceding 65 runs in 17 balls to gift wrap a win to Rajasthan was a sucker punch to Bangalore’s bowling.
A seam attack comprising of Dinda, Starc and Aaron could not inspire the team and their bowlers lacked accuracy, which was perhaps best illustrated in the defeat to Mumbai Indians, when they leaked 25 extras- the most this season.
There was another factor that left them quite unbalanced- Albie Morkel’s flop show. Morkel failed to deliver the same bounties with both bowl and bat for RCB, which made him such a valuable asset for Chennai Super Kings over the years.
Yuzvendra Chahal’s spin was the silver lining for RCB. He proved to be the most lethal weaponended the season for Bangalore, having snapped him at his base price of Rs 10 lakh ($17000). He ended the season with 12 wickets at an economy rate of just over 7 runs per over- the second best among uncapped Indians.
From being runners up in this tournament for two times and now finishing at seventh, inconsistency is what defines the Bangalore team and the current season was a reconstruction of all their previous problems - the non-threatening bowling attack, batsmen not clicking together and losing key games from winning situations.
Thus, IPL 7 brought them Chahal’s promise, but there are unpleasant memories of the on-field spat between Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc as well, to add to the disastrous campaign. Bangalore failed to be consistent in too many areas and once again, a powerful team finished far below their potential.