The batsmen have always been in the limelight in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but history has proven that teams that possess a strong bowling unit who have done well in the tournament. The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have always boasted of an imposing batting line-up but have never won the IPL. Reason – they have never had a great bowling attack to supplement the batting.
The early indications are that the story this year will be no different.
On Thursday against Mumbai Indians, the RCB bowlers conceded 52 in the powerplay – at an economy of 8.67. They conceded as many as 8 boundaries and 2 sixes in the initial six overs.
There was at least one hit to the fence or over it in each of the six overs. Umesh Yadav went for 16 in 2 overs, Navdeep Saini for 25 in 3 and Mohammed Siraj for 11 in 1 in the powerplay. Not only were they unable to restrict the Mumbai Indian batsmen, they also could not make any breakthroughs as Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock put together 54 for the opening wicket.
RCB has the third-worst economy rate (8.29) in the powerplay (after Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders) amongst all IPL teams in the last three seasons of the tournament.
Siraj has a powerplay-economy rate of 10.56 which is way too high for a bowler who has played 19 IPL matches.
The story was not too different in the middle overs (overs 7-16). Although RCB did manage to pick 5 wickets, courtesy Yuzvendra Chahal, who took 4, they were unable to stem the flow of runs in these 10 overs too.
MI scored a total of 93 runs in this phase. Chahal, who otherwise has a good economy rate of 7.70 in his IPL career, was expensive on the night as Yuvraj Singh tonked him for three consecutive sixes, taking 20 off an over.
Moeen Ali conceded 13 in the only over he bowled in the match and Colin de Grandhomme went for 27 in his 3 overs.
After Yadav bowled an excellent 17th over giving away just 2 runs, the other RCB bowlers were hammered for 40 in the last 3. Siraj was taken for 10 and 15 in the 18th and 20th overs while Saini gave away 15 in the 19th. Siraj was a poor choice for the death too. His career economy rate in this phase is 10.29.
RCB have been the worst team at the death in terms of leaking runs. They have, on an average, conceded 47.25 runs in the last 5 overs in the last three seasons.
MI were propelled to 187 for 8 courtesy a Hardik Pandya cameo which proved to be too much for RCB at the end despite a valiant effort by AB de Villiers. The average runs conceded in the last three seasons when bowling first by RCB are 165.42. Only Delhi Capitals have fared worse giving away 170.43 runs when batting second.
Barring Yadav (26 runs in his 4 overs), none of the other RCB bowlers had an economy rate of under 9. As many as 17 boundaries and 9 sixes were hit in the innings – that is 122 of the 187 runs were in 4s or 6s.
Overall, RCB have an economy rate of 8.08 in the IPL – the second-worst after Kings XI Punjab – 8.19. The third-worst on this list is Delhi Capitals (8.03). Interestingly, these three franchises have the worst bowling average in IPL history too.
It cannot be a coincidence then that none of them have ever lifted the IPL trophy.