Royal Challengers Bangalore have been the perennial underachievers in the Indian Premier League. With no silverware in their trophy cabinet, the Bangalore franchise, despite a formidable squad at their disposal, have somehow always managed to find ways to falter.
Despite reaching the final twice, RCB have not managed to get their hands on the winners’ trophy; they also lost an opportunity to win the Champions League T20 title in 2011, losing to Mumbai in a low-scoring final.
With Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli in the squad, the team were expected to fly high this edition. But RCB are once again off the track, languishing at the bottom of the points table after three losses in four outings as they face table toppers, Rajasthan Royals, on Friday.
There appears to be instability in the batting unit, which should take some blame as RCB’s strong suit has been their power-hitters.
Among the batsmen who have played all four games, de Villiers is yet to get a fifty. Perhaps his batting up the order might help. But the biggest culprit has been Dinesh Karthik, who has managed 43 runs in four innings with 18 the highest. The seasoned wicketkeeper has also looked out of sorts every time.The RCB have also used three different opening pairs, another sign their tactics have not been sound. A win against champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening game gave their fans a ray of hope but three defeats at home have left the supporters frustrated.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, but still the team management’s move to keep out Gayle against Chennai Super Kings was surprising. ‘Dropping’ Gayle didn’t help as RCB lost momentum after another Karthik failure and de Villiers run out.
Gayle’s omission has suggested all is not well in the team. Insiders claim the explosive batsman had opted out but the team management choosing to stay mum on the issue has only fuelled speculation.
Ever since Gayle replaced Australian pacer Dirk Nannes in the squad during the 2011 season, he has been the face of the team, taking the league by storm and smashing many records. Even this season, it was Gayle’s blistering 96 off 56 balls that gave the win against KKR.
In his absence, Bangalore looked vulnerable against CSK. It would only add to their woes if skipper Kohli sticks to the decision.