IPL 2024: RCB look for right-left mixture & proper balance in bowling combination

RCB will aim to bounce back in their next game.

RCB
RCB. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) didn’t begin the 17th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on a good note. In the season opener of IPL 2024, the hosts and defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) blew them away with a commanding six-wicket victory. 

At the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to bat first. The Red Army went off to a good start in the first four overs but lost their first three wickets in a span of just one run. At 78/5, they found themselves under the bus, before the 95-run sixth wicket stand between Anuj Rawat (48) and Dinesh Karthik (38*) propelled them to 173/6. 

Chennai made a good start. All of their batters kept on smashing boundaries from the start of their respective innings. Eventually, they reached the target with eight balls to spare.

Let’s examine how RCB lost the plot and what they need to do for better performance in their second game:

Poor bowling and wrong field placement

One of the vital aspects of the game is setting the field placement according to the bowling. When Shivam Dube walked into the middle, the plan was to target his body with short balls. 

Alzarri Joseph hit the deck hard to bowl him short in an aggressive manner. But the field wasn’t set for it. Dube just looked to defend it many times, and the ball landed in the 30-yard circle. A man at short mid-on would have caught and brought the result to the planning. 

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Neither of their pacers or spinners looked to put the CSK batters under any sort of pressure. Their death bowling was so poor that Joseph went for 16 runs in the 17th over, while Camron Green went for 12 in the 16th over in the second innings. Karn Sharma looked clueless, while Mayank Dagar (0/6 in 2 overs) didn’t get the ball back after the halfway mark. 

Too heavy with right-handers at the top

To make it tough for the bowlers to bowl with a constant line and length, teams have begun to mix their line-up with right-left combo. This brings variety to explore different dimensions of the ground. 

Bengaluru didn’t have any right-handed batters in their top five. This is too against an opposition who has a left-arm seamer to benefit from the moving delivery. Mustafizur Rahman, the player of the match with 4/30, took full advantage of it and grabbed four of their top five batters. 

Anuj Rawat, RCB’s only left-handed batter in the top seven looked in good touch for his 25-ball 48-run knock. In this scenario, he could come as an opener, and push Virat Kohli at his favorite number three position to offer the right-left combination. 

Read More: 3 reasons why IPL 2024 is decisive season for Rohit Sharma

Reece Tropley or Lockie Ferguson to replace Alzarri Joseph?

With figures of 0/38 in 3.4 overs at an economy of 10.80, Joseph looked like an average bowler on the opening night. It was quite surprising to see the franchise not choose left-arm pace of Reece Tropley, who pocketed INR 1.9 crore during the IPL 2023 auction. The England bowler can swing the ball in both ways and pick up a few crucial wickets at the top. 

Another option for them would be Lockie Ferguson. The Kiwi bowler was in fine touch in the recent home series against Australia. Even on those small grounds in New Zealand, he had an average of 7 with five wickets in two T20s. It’s also very difficult to smash him for his raw pace. 

The Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s next assignment is Punjab Kings (PBKS) on March 25 at their home, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. On that small ground, a good bowling combination will be so essential for the hosts to open their account. 

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