No trophy, no cry: The 2024 season will fill RCB fans with hope | Crickit

No trophy, no cry: The 2024 season will fill RCB fans with hope

May 23, 2024 08:12 PM IST

A poor start and a good finish have given the Bengaluru team their template for success

In the end, Royal Challengers Bengaluru failed to win the elusive IPL trophy once again. 17 years, 0 titles. Ask RCB fans and they'll tell you how it just isn't fair. But as much as it hurts in the present, with time, this season won't feel quite as bad.

The player who will be hurting the most will be Virat Kohli.(AFP)
The player who will be hurting the most will be Virat Kohli.(AFP)

The way the team fought back from a hopeless start to win six matches in a row and qualify for the play-offs will bring a feeling of a lot of pride. After the win against CSK, RCB wins were out in full force on the streets. It felt like it was their time. But as the Eliminator against Rajasthan Royals came to an end, the familiar disappointment of a trophy-less season must've hit home.

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The player who will be hurting the most will be Virat Kohli. An RCB player since the first season in 2008, he has nothing to show for in terms of trophies after amassing 8004 career runs. This season alone, he made 741 runs in 15 matches at an average of 61.75 with five fifties and one hundred.

It will be some consolation for him that his heroics did salvage the season, however, even the late run couldn't mask the shortcomings of a team that clearly needed more firepower in the bowling department.

Most successful IPL teams like Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have built their success on making the most of the home advantage. It is seen in the seasons they have won the title. RCB have struggled to convert their home venue, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, into a fortress, winning just one out of four games in the first half. Their fortunes only started to change this season when they discovered the mantra to do well at home. They returned to win the last three games at the venue to clinch a playoffs berth.

But having finished fourth meant they had to win three more games to win the title, that would mean having a stretch of winning nine games in a row. The law of averages caught up with them in their seventh game, which was the Eliminator against RR. Had they done well in the first half of the league and finished in the top two, they would have got an easier shot at the title because the winner of the Qualifier 1 directly goes into the final.

At the end of the game, Head coach Andy Flower was all praise for his star performer Kohli and RCB captain, Faf du Plessis, while pointing out the importance doing well in home conditions. "I think our guys have fought brilliantly over the last 10 weeks to come back from our first half of the tournament was a great effort. And I certainly would pay tribute to Faf du Plessis for his captaincy and Faf and Virat (Kohli) for the way they've led from the front as role models and professional sports people. But also, the way they've played. They both really been great role models for everyone else and the rest of the boys fought really hard to get us back into the tournament," Flower said.

It is time now for a mega auction and RCB will have the opportunity to pick the right players who can adapt to the high-scoring venue of M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Asked for his thoughts on what RCB must focus on building a team that can do well at home, Flower said getting the bowlers with the right skills will be the key. "As far as recruitment for next year, it's a bit early to talk about that. Quite frankly, I don't want to talk about that yet. I do think though the Chinnaswamy has some particular qualities that we need to be able to exploit. You certainly need highly skillful bowlers at Chinnaswamy. Simply pace is not going to be the answer there. You need skillful, intelligent bowlers and people that can bowl to really specific plans at Chinnaswamy,” Flower said.

"And I think we've all seen how the power game has affected T20 cricket recently. So on the batting front, you certainly need to recruit batsmen with that sort of power that can keep up that sort of tempo,” he added.

In batting, their plans were affected by the form of Glenn Maxwell. He asked to be dropped midway through the tournament. His form didn’t improve even after the break. Apart from a cameo in the final league game against CSK, Maxwell proved to be a total flop, getting out for a first-ball duck in the Eliminator against RR on Wednesday.

A major reason for RCB’s early struggle was the below-par show of their middle-order batters. The explosive Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green and the classy Rajat Patidar has also not come to the party. Kohli was consistent as ever to be at the top of the run chart, there were questions raised about his ability to score quickly after the fielding restrictions were lifted. Kohli, however, changed things around in the second half. Scoring faster than he has in any IPL season, Kohli contributed three half-centuries in the six-match winning streak. His strike rate of 154.69 is his best ever.

Inspired by their talisman, the others in the line-up rallied around Kohli – captain and opening partner Faf du Plessis, Rajat Patidar and Cameron Green in the middle-rider and the finishers, Dinesh Karthik and Glenn Maxwell, all got runs to ensure RCB finished the league stage strongly.

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