RCB finished at the bottom of the table in IPL 2017    AFP
RCB finished at the bottom of the table in IPL 2017 AFP

Before the start of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017, pacer Mitchell Starc discontinued his association with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in order to stay fit for ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in June. To fill his spot, the owners spent INR 12.5 crores on Tymal Mills. However, he stayed clear of injury for only 5 matches. Before that, they had lost middle-order dynamite Sarfraz Khan due to leg injury during inter-squad practice game. Amidst all this, captain Virat Kohli had already hurt his shoulder during India’s Tests series against Australia. He missed the first four games, with Shane Watson replacing him at the helm.

This was not it. AB de Villiers joined the list as well and, towards the end, he left the team to prepare for South Africa’s 50-over series in England. All in all, the runners-up of IPL 9 were left wounded at the bottom of the points table in the spectacle’s 10th edition, with a mere 3 victories and one rain-affected wash-out in 14 games. Let us walk through how the players fared in RCB’s downfall.

Virat Kohli (10 matches | 308 runs at 30.8): 7/10

There was not much Kohli could do to take his team out of the murky waters. After recovering from the injury, he scored a characteristic 62 against Mumbai Indians. Nonetheless, that did not change RCB’s fate. RCB lost the game by 4 wickets. In his only third game, Kohli added 122 runs with Chris Gayle, taking RCB to a clinical 21-run win. All the same, the fallible RCB were back to exhibiting ordinary cricket, as Kohli’s remaining half-centuries came in a losing cause.

Kohli tried his best to call the right shots when others failed to match his genius. None of that boosted their morale. Eventually, under Kohli, RCB performed their worst ever in IPL.

Sreenath Aravind (10 matches | 5 wickets at 55.00): 2/10

Sreenath was RCB’s highest wicket-taker in IPL 2011, with 21 wickets in 13 matches. Since then, until 2016, Sreenath could not weave a similar magic. His 11 wickets at 19.63 took RCB to the final last year. That said, Sreenath’s downside came to the fore in this season. He managed only 5 wickets in 10 matches.

Avesh Khan (1 match | 1 wicket at 23): 3/10

Hailing from Madhya Pradesh, pacer Avesh got a nod in only a match. He had Sanju Samson caught in RCB’s 10-run win over Delhi Daredevils. Not his fault that he played one game and the little we saw, he impressed.

Samuel Badree (7 matches | 9 wickets at 20.88): 6/10

Badree gets an extra point for exploiting Rohit Sharma’s weakness to tackle a googly. That eventually earned him his maiden hat-trick in IPL. Despite that, his side failed to reach the finishing line. Otherwise, the leg-spinner did reasonably well in a team that is studded with top-drawer overseas players.

Stuart Binny (8 matches | 78 runs at 15.6 | 4 wickets at 12.5): 3/10

The all-rounder looked unsure of his duties. He was neither in the forefront of bowling nor batting unit. He batted when the team was stuttering at a crucial juncture and rolled his arm when the mainstay bowler could not get wickets for Kohli.

Yuzvendra Chahal (13 matches | 14 wickets at 23.7): 5/10

After his remarkable hat-trick in T20Is earlier this year, Yuzvendra was expected to emulate the same this summer. However, the leg-spinner hit a new low. He scalped only 14 wickets compared to his 23 and 21 wickets respectively in the previous two seasons.

Aniket Choudhary (5 matches | 5 wickets at 28.8): 3/10

In his maiden season, Choudhary tried his best to continue his domestic form in the high-octane IPL. He did show glimpses of his traits, but often succumbed to pressure.

AB de Villiers (9 matches | 216 runs at 27): 4/10

ABD had scored 687 runs at 52.85 in IPL 9, including 1 hundred and 6 fifties. In this season, he could bag a solitary half-century in 9 games. His strike rate of 132.51 is the lowest since 2011 all were in excess of 150. In addition, the decibel level of ‘ABD, ABD’ chants scaled down as the tournament progressed and ABD regressed.

Chris Gayle (9 matches | 200 runs at 22.22): 3/10

The Caribbean marauder (or he may refer it as the Universe Boss) had ended with an average of 22.70 in IPL 9. In this season, Gayle’s average lowered to 22.22. Had he not walloped 77 runs against Gujarat Lions, the average would have significantly dropped.

Travis Head (7 matches | 151 runs at 30.3): 4/10

Head does not get as many marks as ABD did simply because the two are doppelgangers. Despite his unbeaten 75, Head could not use the long handle to blasting effect.

Iqbal Abdulla (2 matches | 2 wickets at 27.5): 3/10

With Pawan Negi boasting of similar skills, Abdulla got only 2 games. To make matters worse, Abdulla bowled at an economy of 11.

Kedar Jadhav (13 matches | 267 runs at 22.25): 5/10

In the absence of KL Rahul, Jadhav pocketed 3 stumpings and pouched a few easy catches. With the bat, Jadhav smashed only a fifty, which, for that matter, came in a winning cause. Otherwise, he looked lacklustre throughout the season, unable to use his finishing skills to good effect.

Mandeep Singh (11 matches | 188 runs at 18.8): 4/10

Let us gift an extra point to Mandeep for batting at various positions. He partnered Gayle at the opening slot when Kohli was rested due to injury. He was then demoted down to strengthen the middle-order. Nothing worked for him as well as his side. Thanks to his only half-century that improved his average.

Tymal Mills (5 matches | 5 wickets at 30.6): 3/10

Mills could not provide what Starc did. After a niggle, Mills was often seen benched. The hefty amount the owners had bid on him could have been used better by the RCB’s think-tank.

Adam Milne (4 matches | 3 wickets at 44.6): 2/10

He conceded runs at 9.57, making very little contribution in the bowling department. He fell prey to India’s flat tracks.

Pawan Negi (12 matches | 144 runs at 18 and 16 wickets at 12.31): 7/10

Ending up as RCB’s highest wicket-taker, Negi displayed a stellar performance with the bat as well. Had he got to face more deliveries, the southpaw would have garnered more runs.

Harshal Patel (1 match | 3 wickets at 14.33): 5/10

One of RCB’s vital cog in IPL 8, Harshal represented RCB in the last league match. He got rid of Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, and Marlon Samuels, and bagged the Man of the Match.

Sachin Baby (3 matches | 15 runs at 12): 3/10

Baby was often picked ahead of Sarfraz Khan in the previous edition. However, the clueless RCB drafted him in only 3 games.

Billy Stanlake (2 matches | 2 wickets at 35): 2/10

Stanlake was just another player who failed to get accustomed to the subcontinent conditions. His numbers are evidence of the fact.

Vishnu Vinod (3 matches | 19 runs at 6.33 | 2 stumpings): 3/10

Barring the 2 stumpings, Vinod did not fetch any limelight.

Shane Watson (8 matches | 24 runs at 11.83 | 5 wickets at 49): 3/10

Of 3 matches RCB emerged victorious in, Watson’s leadership handed them one. That was the only bright aspect in Watson’s journey this year.

Benched players: Praveen Dubey, Harpreet Singh, Tabraiz Shamsi

Royal Challengers Bangalore (14 matches, 3 wins, 10 defeats, 1 no result): How much would you rate Kohli’s men?