Dark arts of defensive cricket, a cosmic style of approach that Royal Challengers Banglore never emulated, an ideology that was a derivative of Mike Hesson structural play, lied not so on some brilliant decision making in not some brilliant on-field tactics, but in a very intelligent selection of personnel.
But it ended in shambles as rebellion charged up, Sunrisers proved too strong in an eliminator.
What they were trying to implement.
The attacking reputation that Royal Challengers garnered during Pre Mike Hesson & Simon Katich era was oriented into structural plays, to utilize the strength of the available squad. Virat Kohli and AB De Villers, two of the best runners between the wickets, they could charge up & down the pitch without breaking a sweat, they were instructed to be protective in approach, and utilize their attacking derivative to compensate in death overs, for the loss of runs that arises in middle overs. Given their skill set and technical ability to find the boundary with extraordinary ease. This composition system somehow reduced the risk of losing 2 major batsmen at an early stage. It freed up the role of Shivam Dube, Chris Morris to be turbocharged in their approach with the bat.
Devdutt Paddikal & Aaron Finch form the nucleus and fulfilled the criteria of having an aggressor and great stable opener up front somehow easing the workload of AB & Kohli. To complement the work of batters, the role of Chris Morris, Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini turned subtle, given the lack of bench strength in the Indian pace bowling department.
What went wrong?
The form of Virat Kohli this season was concerning, emphasis & urgency on attacking in middle overs kept on increasing with he somehow seemed afraid to pull the trigger. Having a strike rate of close to 100 in middle overs considering the quality of Kohli stature, the consideration of stature, which even statistics cannot tell. It doesn’t end here, he managed to accumulate 466 runs, having an average of 42.36 but dip in a strike rate of 121.35.
Absence of genuine pacers, Kane Richardson turned out to be a misfortune in long run. Known for his hit the deck ability to abstract bounce at any surface, & his ability to lead the bowling attack somehow turned out to be missing jigsaw puzzle. In his absence, RCB tried Chris Morris to open the bowling with new balls which are not his strength, Isuru Udana was touted as a backup pacer, but lack of pace and his ability to bowl back of a length and cutters somehow turned out to be predictable for the batsman to play.
In batting arsenal, for T20 set up to run smoothly, you would need a proper top 6 to succeed but RCB had to rely on top 4. They tried Gurkeerat Singh, Shivam Dube & Washington Sundar but none of them succeeded in this role.
Underutilizing the resources are very subtle issues that Mike and Katich seem to have neglected. But we can expect them to learn after a knockout blow.
Devdutt Padikkal was the brightest by scoring 473 runs in his debut year. AB De Villers broke many stereotypes this season, first by scoring 454 runs in 14 innings, with a strike rate of 158.74 & his ability to keep in 13 out of 15 games. He scored 5 half-centuries Four out of his five half-centuries came in a winning cause.
There was an improved performance from Washington, Mohammed Siraj, Morris and Navdeep Saini as they impressed with the ball.
Yuzvendra Chahal being a standout performer with the ball, taking 21 scalps in 15 games with a strike rate of 16.33 and economy of 7.08.
What they have to do?
RCB has improved their decision making and they had stuck with their guns for long and hardly panicked. They are a couple of good auction away from building a title-challenging team.