Role Clarity in the Royal Challengers Bangalore Campaign: IPL 2022


Modified May 27, 2022 10:33 AM IST

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Royal Challengers Bangalore have had some of the best players in the World with the likes of Virat Kohli, Ab De Villiers, Chris Gayle and even Yuvraj Singh in the same squad at one point. Despite all their strength, the team has never won a trophy. A major factor over their defeats in the previous seasons could come down to how they used to treat their players. With big stars in Virat Kohli and Ab De Villiers for most of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL journey, it is sensible to build the line-up around these two players.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore though, seemed to have relied more on these players, and forgot about the rest of the line-up. This move led to issues such as lack of clarity among the players, before IPL 2020. Barring the duo, Chris Gayle when he was there, and Yuzvendra Chahal, none of the players were given a clear and stable role.

This season, the clarity in the side has been a lot better, which could be a huge factor behind their success. Despite Virat Kohli not at being at his best, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have managed to look threatening throughout, and have gone through a season without making too many changes to their line-up. They had to fight some adversities in between though, with Harshal Patel leaving the bubble for his sister’s death and Mohammad Siraj’s lack of form at one stage, but when they were with a full-strength side, the team has managed to look clear and cool.

In the first half of the season, the only area which lacked clarity was the opening slot, and that was more due to Virat Kohli’s form. With Kohli struggling to get starts, the Royal Challengers Bangalore made an adjustment for their biggest player, moving him up the order, and this allowed Rajat Patidar to get into the side. Even before this change, there was some incredible clarity in roles. Dinesh Karthik’s job as a finisher was as clear as ever, with him walking in only in the last seven overs, despite the number of wickets falling.

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With him walking in at a fixed place, Karthik found it easy to get into his role, and score at a quick place, which suits him well. Then there is Glenn Maxwell who is fixed at number four, and present to score at a quick rate again, in the middle-overs. Along with his batting, Maxwell has acted as a partnership breaker, coming into bowl in the middle-overs, and often bowling his quota with a handy number of wickets.

With Virat Kohli opening and Glenn Maxwell at number four, Rajat Patidar’s role has become easier. Incase of an early wicket, his job has mostly been to occupy the crease, and counter-attack with positive strokes, allowing Glenn Maxwell to come in to bat at a suitable situation in the middle-overs. The role has helped Patidar know what needs to be done, and in the eliminator his counter-attacking style worked well as he made a remarkable century.

There is Shabhaz Ahmed as well, who has been given a job of his own while batting lower down the order. While Dinesh Karthik has been in the spotlight for his finishing antics this season, Ahmed was the one accompanying him on most occasions, and he has been just as consistent with his aggressive batting in the last five overs. Unlike Karthik though, Ahmed has been given an additional role of walking in earlier than Karthik if wickets fell before the final overs, and this has led to Ahmed being a little more flexible in the batting line-up.

This sort of clarity with the bat has long been missing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, with batters often shuffling and being rotated in and out of the side, leading to the lack of stability. The bowling used to be just as bad, with bowlers changing in each game, but this season the bowling attack has looked solid.

In Hazlewood, Hasaranga and Harshal Patel, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have a trio that are clear with what they need to do. They have Hazlewood tying batters down with his good length deliveries, and with Hazlewood improving, he has been given more responsibilities in the death overs as well. Wanindu Hasaranga, a questionable buy ahead of the auction, has been consistent with his wickets in the middle overs and is right up there as a purple cap contender.

When Mohammad Siraj is around, he handles the new ball, and has done a great job upfront, despite being expensive in the latter stages. The Royal Challengers Bangalore have also managed to handle the fifth bowlers quota well with Ahmed and Maxwell sharing the duties.

The main asset to their side though has been Harshal Patel. Last season, with wickets in the death, Harshal Patel came into the light, and this season he is doing just as well. He is bowling at different stages this season, and is often used whenever Faf feels the game is slipping away. With incredible control and courage, Harshal Patel has emerged as a trump card, allowing the Royal Challengers Bangalore to rally around him, making it easier for other bowlers to coordinate with him.

Despite the lack of performances from seasoned match-winners such as Glenn Maxwell, Virat Kohli and Faf Du Plessis, the role clarity has allowed the Royal Challengers Bangalore to look beyond and find new superstars. Now, with a team full of capable match-winners, and only two games to win, they look like strong contenders ahead of the Qualifier 2.