The Royal Challengers Bangalore qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Thirteen editions into the IPL, and Bangalore have only made the playoffs six times.
While teams have records worse than this, they certainly don’t have a core as strong as Bangalore.
With two of the best batsmen in the world in Virat Kohli and Ab De Villiers and a smart leg-spinner in Chahal, the Royal Challengers have some of the most talented players in the world.
They also had Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Marcus Stoinis, and Shane Watson among a few star players.
Despite a history of star players, Royal Challengers Bangalore have struggled to qualify for the next round in the past few seasons.
Let us see how things worked out for them this season and how they managed to turn things around.
Revamp in coaching staff:
The Royal Challengers had Vettori and Gary Kirsten as head coaches in the past but didn’t persist with them after a string of failures.
This season they bought in Mike Hesson as the coach and Simon Katich as an assistant coach.
They took their time to identify the roles of players and where things were going wrong for RCB.
The pair ensure players get to play in their desired spots to provide the full potential of each member comes out.
Success at the top:
In the past, Royal Challengers have struggled to find a consistent opener, which has cost them a lot.
They had Chris Gayle, who was a dominant force during his stint with Bangalore. As he grew to be more inconsistent, the side started struggling.
This season Devdutt Padikkal has been one of the critical reasons for Royal Challengers’ success.
He has been very consistent at the top and has reduced the reliance on Kohli and De Villiers with his performance.
He has been given a longer rope this season to settle into his role.
His partner in the initial stages was Aaron Finch.
Finch may not have gotten big scores, but he did help support Padikkal in getting the side off to good starts.
Along with the two openers, Bangalore’s third opener Josh Phillipe has also been right in his limited opportunities, which has helped Bangalore get off to good starts.
Washington Sundar in the powerplay:
Washington Sundar has been a part of Bangalore since 2018.
In and out of the eleven in previous seasons, he has been not as effective as his debut season in 2017.
His success in 2017 is mainly due to his spells coming in the powerplay.
Washington Sundar is one of those rare spinners who enjoy bowling in the powerplay and can give a few quick and tight overs while also picking up occasional wickets.
When he came to the Royal Challengers, Sundar was used more in the middle-order with Chahal.
It was a new role for Sundar, and he hasn’t been too successful.
This season, Sundar has been used more in the powerplay and has also been given more chances to prove himself.
He enjoys a good season and has been one of the main reasons the bowling has been successful in IPL 2020.
Pace bowling improvement:
Navdeep Saini has been a massive hit for the Royal Challengers.
His pace and accuracy have made him an x-factor in the line-up.
While Navdeep Saini has not been among the wickets, his pace has intimidated the batsmen and allowed him to be one of the more economical bowlers.
Along with Saini, Siraj has also been a breakthrough performer this season.
He has only played in eight of the matches so far and has previously criticized his economy rate.
However, Virat Kohli continued to back Siraj, who is now performing well and helping the bowling attack look stronger.
Ab De Villiers Taking the Gloves:
De Villiers taking up the role of wicket-keeper is a crucial reason behind Bangalore’s success.
With him keeping, Bangalore can now play an extra batsman or bowler depending on the conditions.
De Villiers keeping also helps Virat Kohli when it comes to field settings as wicket-keepers can generally see various angles of the ground better.
The management spent a considerable amount on all-rounder Chris Morris at the auction.
He was injured at the start of the season, and the Royal Challengers did their best to get him on the field.
In the past, the Royal Challengers have fielded all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, Corey Anderson, Colin de Grandhomme, and Shane Watson.
Despite having such big names, the all-rounders could never impact as they weren’t used in places suitable for them.
The clarity in roles was missing, as was the case with many other parts in the Royal Challengers side.
With the change in support staff, clarity among roles has gone up, and it has allowed a player like Chris Morris to be used to his max potential.
He has been used in the death where he is instrumental while also getting an over in the powerplays.
He has been very economical and has also done well down the order with the bat, solving Bangalore’s search for a bowling all-rounder.
To sum it up, with a change in the coaching staff, the players have been given a clear idea of what they need to do.
Most of the players have also been getting to play in favored positions, which helps bring the best out of the side.
Players like Morris have given the feeling that they need to be in the side while Finch, Siraj, Philippe, and Padikkal have are given consistent opportunities to prove themselves.
There hasn’t been much chopping and changing in the playing eleven as the Royal Challengers have looked to stick to the same group, unlike in previous seasons where there were constant changes in the side.
Washington Sundar bowling in the powerplay has made him a more useful bowler and has also reduced Chahal’s burden.
With players having more security and more knowledge on what they need to do on the side, Royal Challengers have been able to identify their core group faster.
Their bowling attack has looked better than ever, and their batting line-up is no longer dependent on just two players.
Despite their last four games, Bangalore still is a team to watch out for as they have a very talented group of players.
With the side enjoying its cricket and learning from their previous mistakes, there is every possible chance for them to go on to win the tournament.