IPL 2021: What is working for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament?

Royal Challengers Bangalore have begun their IPL 2021 campaign on the ultimate high with four consecutive wins and are on top of the table.

Royal Challengers Bangalore are on top of the table with eight points. (Image credit: IPL Twitter)
By Siddharth vishwanathan | Apr 23, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Royal Challengers Bangalore have gotten off to their best start in the history of the Indian Premier League. For the first time, they have won their first four consecutive games. Even when they reached the finals in 2009, 2011 and 2016, they never had such a great start. The batting and bowling are clicking like a well-oiled machine. Royal Challengers Bangalore are having a different experience in IPL 2021 as compared to previous editions.

In the past, Royal Challengers Bangalore only had one facet clicking. If the batting was strong, the bowling suffered. If the bowling was decent, then the batting would be inconsistent. A brief look at the people who dominated the batting and bowling charts in previous IPLs will give an indication of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s struggles.

Nowhere at the top

Ever since 2009, no Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler was consistently in the top 10. In 2008, neither bowling or batting featured in the list. Anil Kumble was the only RCB bowler who topped the bowling charts in 2009. That was the year RCB made it to the finals for the first time. In that same year, there were three batsmen in the top 15. Although the strike-rates were not that impressive, they contributed as a collective unit.

2010 was their best year in the bowling charts, with three players in the top 10. They finished third but the reason for their title loss was because only two players were there in the top 15. Jacuqes Kallis had a strike-rate of just 115 while Uthappa had 171. The sheer mismatch in strike-rate saw inconsistency.

Struggles throughout the decade

In 2016, Royal Challengers Bangalore seemed to have covered all aspects. Three batsmen were in the top 10. Two bowlers also dominated. But, their economy rates were over eight. The other bowlers were over nine and seven and a half. With the inability to contain the runs, the pressure got to them in the finals and they collapsed. In the period of 2017 and 2019, when Royal Challengers Bangalore had the wooden spoon, none of the players made an impact.

At that time, only Kohli and AB de Villiers had featured. But, the heavy reliance on them took its toll. None of the other players contributed. The plan for other teams was simple. Get either of de Villiers or Kohli cheaply and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s line-up will fold. It always happened from 2012 to 2015. When Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kohli and de Villiers made the top 4, results veered on the extreme. Whenever they clicked, they were devastating. If they failed, it was spectacular. 

Change finally in 2021

In IPL 2021, there is a major change. The reliance on Kohli is minimal. Devdutt Padikkal at the top has given stability. Glenn Maxwell in the lower order has given a major buffer. On top of that, Kyle Jamieson is also a handy bat. With Padikkal firing, the reliance on Kohli has dimmed. De Villiers and Maxwell are pummeling sixes at will and are scoring at a strike-rate close to 150.

Shahbaz Ahmed and Washington Sundar have the ability to chip in at vital times. Sundar showed in the Tests against England and Australia that he can bat. Harshal Patel is dominating the bowling charts with 12. Incidentally, after 12 years, an RCB bowler is dominating the charts. Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal are chipping in while there is good support from Shahbaz. Siraj is the only bowler to bowl 50 dot balls with an economy rate of just six. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore have got many bases covered. However, they must be prepared for one bad day. In the case of Kohli, it has been seen that he has a period of domination but tends to have a bad day at a wrong time. If Royal Challengers Bangalore click as a unit and if they can overcome bad luck, there is no reason to believe that the IPL 2021 title is theirs.

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