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Why Royal Challengers Bangalore have cut a sorry figure in IPL 2017

Despite starting the IPL 2017 season as one of the title favourites, Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore’s campaign has gone completely awry

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 29, 2017 12:07 IST
HT Correspondent
Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by Virat Kohli, have struggled to get going in the 2017 Indian Premier League season.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by Virat Kohli, have struggled to get going in the 2017 Indian Premier League season.(BCCI)

Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainty has been proven yet again after Royal Challengers Bangalore’s shocking capitulation in this edition of the Indian Premier League. (FULL IPL 2017 COVERAGE)

Touted as the front-runners to lift the IPL title this time after their near miss in the final last year against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Virat Kohli & Co’s campaign has gone completely awry. (RESULTS)

The favourites tag soon gave way with losses piling up and the team is now struggling to make it to playoffs.

Royal Challengers Bangalore have lost six matches, won two games and one match was abandoned due to rain which caused more misery to their overall standings. (STANDINGS)

With just five more games under their belt to give themselves some hopes of making the cut, Virat Kohli’s men take on Rising Pune Supergiant at the MCA Stadium on Saturday.

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Virat Kohli can lift his spirit up as Rising Pune Supergiant have been a happy hunting ground for him and local boy Kedar Jadhav.

The Indian duo forged a 200-run partnership with Kohli scoring 122 and Jadhav 120 to chase down 350 against England in the first ODI earlier this year.

There is no dearth of talent in the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp with world’s cricket biggest superstars all available in their team. So, where does the problem lie?

Combination problem

RCB has struggled big time in finding their right combination. It took them six matches to finalise their opening pair as they tried five different combinations before finally settling with Kohli and Chris Gayle.

Injuries to AB de Villiers meant the middle order was left a bit vulnerable. However, the biggest difference of RCB of 2016 and this time is the lack of firepower in their batting.

Kohli led the batting charts last time with close to 1000 runs in the IPL. This time, however, he is a bit subdued with 164 runs in five innings.

Their other mainstay in the batting department – de Villiers (150), Chris Gayle (152) and Shane Watson (61) have been all been out of sorts this time which has resulted in a collective batting failure.

At the moment, RCB’s batting is being shouldered by only Jadhav, who has scored 206 runs in eight matches.

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Bowling lacks steam

Australian Mitchell Starc’s decision to not participate in the IPL 2017 has probably hurt RCB in a big way. Without Starc, the bowling unit lacks potent to make inroads. The reason they went all out to have Tymal Mills in the auction was to make it up for Starc’s absence. However, the English pacer has been off the mark and could claim only five wickets in five matches at an economy rate of 8.57.

While RCB’s pace department does not pose any threat, spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (10 wickets), Samuel Badree (8 wickets) and Pawan Negi (7) are trying their best to make it up for the pacers’ failures.

Intent issue

Virat Kohli has often spoken about the lack of intent in his team and he again reiterated after thumping loss to Gujarat Lions on Thursday. Time is running out for Royal Challengers Bangalore to get their acts together before it’s too late.