Where did they finish?

In last place, with five wins and 11 points.

What went right?

AB de Villiers had another memorable stint at the IPL, making 442 runs at a strike rate of 154. He made five 50-plus scores, his best return in a league since the last IPL, and held Royal Challengers’ innings together on many occasions even as they shuffled around trying to figure out their best batting order. Only three batsmen hit more sixes during the league stage than de Villiers’ 26.

After starting the season with six straight losses, Royal Challengers finished losing only two of their last eight games. The team showed resilience and closed out tough games, with crucial contributions from players other than Virat Kohli and de Villiers. Moeen Ali, Parthiv Patel, and Navdeep Saini had good seasons.

What went wrong?

The turnaround in the latter half was impressive, but it did not do much in the way of improving their bowling numbers. Once again, with a near-identical bowling attack to last year, Royal Challengers struggled to take wickets early and save runs late in several innings.

They struggled to integrate big-money signings like Shimron Hetmyer and Shivam Dube into the XIs. Having fallen in a rut early in the season, like the rest of the team, these players seemed under pressure and could not break back in.

De Villiers’ good form brought back another old Achilles heel – an overdependence on him (and Kohli) to win them games.

Key numbers

  • In another below-par season, Yuzvendra Chahal continued to be Royal Challengers’ best bowler by far – he took 18 wickets at an economy of 7.82. During the course of the season he took his 100th wicket in the IPL.
  • During overs 15 to 20, Royal Challengers conceded more boundaries in total – 87 – than any other team, besides conceding the highest number of sixes – 48 – during that phase. Only Kolkata Knight Riders had a worse bowling average – 31.65 – during that phase than Royal Challengers’ 23.85.

Star performers

Kohli and de Villiers were the stars with the bat once again. Kohli was their top-scorer for the season with 464 runs.

In a withering batting line-up, Parthiv was often the last man fighting. The opener didn’t have the reputation of being a natural pick in a T20 match but outdid his own history of middling strike-rates as an opener, hitting at 139.17. He hit 48 fours in the season, the most by any batsman in the team.

What needs an immediate fix?

Royal Challengers turned into a different bowling unit when Dale Steyn joined to head their attack. They need an immediate turnaround in their bowling roster, which has now failed them two seasons in a row, and they need to start by finding a similar leader for the attack.

Source: RCB once again plagued by expensive bowlers and over reliance on big names | ESPNcricinfo.com

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