RCB Batting Recap - IPL 2012
Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers form a batting line up to die for in T20s. RCB thrilled the crowds again this season and the M Chinnaswamy turned into one big carnival every time the men in red and gold played in Bangalore.
Despite the superb batting, cruelly, the team fell short of making it to the play offs on net run rate. But still, runs were plundered, records were broken and innings that will be remembered and talked about for years to come were played this season by RCB batsmen. Here’s a look at who did what this season:
By bettering his 2011 IPL haul in IPL 5 in 2012, Chris Gayle did the unthinkable: display remarkably outstanding consistency in T20. The ODI format is 40 years old and still evolving, T20 is just 6 years old and Gayle is setting the benchmark for the format.
He employed a different approach this year, preferring to get his eye in before teeing off but when he did shift gears it was impressive. He became the first man to hit 100 sixes and 3 tons across all editions of the tournament and also the first to cross the 700 run barrier.
His runs helped RCB massively; he was Man of the Match in 5 out of the team’s 8 wins, also scoring heavily in two losses and his early departures expectedly hurt the team. To his credit, Gayle got almost all of his runs in traditional scoring areas and with classical shots.
When he was in the mood to dominate bowlers early on, Gayle tended to slash outside the off only for the ball to take an inside edge on to his stumps. Line and length operators like Munaf Patel and speedsters like Pankaj Singh and Steyn got the better of him on the few occasions he did this.
The most important stat about AB de Villiers’s season is 198 – the number of balls he faced in 13 innings, 15.2 deliveries per inning.
A T20 innings only lasts 120 deliveries, it is essential that your best batsmen face as many deliveries. AB de Villiers is in the form of his life and very importantly he was in the zone right from game 1 of the IPL. The decision to back Saurabh Tiwary and send him ahead of de Villiers to encourage him is noble but that meant it left AB with lesser time to work his magic. To his credit he delivered.
That said he was guilty of throwing away starts too but that is the nature of T20 especially when you come in at no. 5 with the score 100/4 after 15 overs: you accelerate or perish.
His bursts helped the team win against DD, KXIP, RR and DC, two of those wins coming away against tough opponents and the last of those was so stunning that it earned him the knock of the tournament award.
AB picked up the Man of the Match awards in the three remaining RCB wins, batting higher in more games could've seen him pick up more such honours.
Early in the season, Tillakaratne Dilshan did not find a place in the starting XI as the team experimented with combinations of Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori and played Andrew McDonald when the pitch called for it.
When he did play his role was to find the early boundaries while Gayle set himself in and then cruise, letting Gayle take over. He did that admirably, holding up one end and his support also let AB go for his shots, most noticeably against RR at Jaipur when the duo added 122* runs off just 50 balls.
Dilshan's strike rate was not as good as you'd expect from an opener in T20s. He tried to bat through the innings against MI at Bangalore but failed to find the boundaries when it was time to accelerate. Perhaps it was a long season for SL that took its toll.
He made up for it with his anchoring roles but the Dilstruction we’ve come to expect when the Lankan is at the crease just wasn’t there.
After a season in which he established himself as one of the world’s best ODI batsmen, Virat Kohli was expected to flay one and all in the IPL.
Kohli though didn't replicate the consistency of his ODI form. This was bound to add pressure on the batting line up and affect the team balance . Kohli had the additional responsibility of captaincy in the second half of the tournament, a job he did well by keeping RCB in contention.
He managed two fifties (on splendid batting tracks), and another good knock against MI in Mumbai but the rest of the season was poor by his standards. His strike rate, at just 111 for a no. 3 batsman reflects this.
Knowing Virat, he will come back stronger and better prepared, ready to make amends the next time he gets an opportunity.
Saurabh Tiwary had a mixed domestic season where he displayed incredible maturity to play solid knocks for his state. He traded in his explosive style for consistency in longer formats but he shouldn't entirely trade in the hard hitting that first brought him to the fore.
He’s shown a willingness to get himself set before going for the shots but batsmen from no.4 onwards cannot afford too many dot balls in T20s. Batsmen at no. 5/6 coming in with just 5 overs to go have to play their shots immediately and be equipped to deal with all the variety bowlers throw at batsmen in the death. Tiwary hedged on big hits and that affected his rotation of strike, his crouching stance often leaves him in a bad position to score off short balls.
A glimpse of what he is capable of was on show in the two matches against Pune especially the last ball six in the game at Bangalore. He did well when he was promoted but what’s expected of him are the explosive finishes that he provided MI in 2010.
Andrew McDonald has a stellar batting record in T20s and he seized his chances well in IPL 2012. He plugged the gap superbly in the season opener against his former team Delhi when Gayle was unfit, knocked off the winning runs in a chase in another game and came in quite late in his remaining inning. However he showed his worth making contributions with the ball which proved far more crucial for RCB.
Mayank Agarwal did not get his preferred slot as opener but he played a couple of blinders batting at no. 5 and 6. His 64* against MI where he took apart seasoned bowlers like Lasith Malinga and Munaf Patel was one of the knocks of the season and his clean hitting is a sight to behold.
Mayank gave the team a great start whenever he opened, reducing Gayle to a spectator early on against CSK and RR. Against DC at Bangalore he set up AB’s spectacular finish, reducing the equation from 65 needed off 28 to 39 needed off 18 with his 6 ball 18. Agarwal deserved chances higher up the order on the form he was in before IPL 5 began, with his show in IPL 5 he’s earned the opener’s slot.
Mohammad Kaif played just one match in IPL 2012 and his turn to bat came awfully late with the game already out of RCB’s reach. The limitations of balance result in talented players like Kaif sitting out, hopefully he will have more opportunities to play in the next season.
The RCB skipper is no mug with the bat as his exploits for NZ will show. His services with the bat were hardly required this season though or the task was beyond pinch hitters when it presented itself.
He batted well against KKR early in the season after the top order batsmen had fallen for very little, showing what a fighter he is inside.
The highlight for Daniel Vettori would have been finishing the chase against KXIP at Mohali.
Asad Pathan played just 2 games this season as RCB experimented with the middle order. He came in ahead of de Villiers and Agarwal against DC but to his credit he immediately went for the big shots with a tall chase to be finished. Almost cleared the boundary too before Dale Steyn cut short his season with an outstanding catch at the ropes.
Cheteshwar Pujara already has a big reputation in longer formats of the game but he went about his role as opener with great gusto in RCB’s first game against Delhi. Two of his dismissals came against short balls, (one from the tournament’s best pacer Morne Morkel and another time by Jacques Kallis who knows the Bangalore pitch intimately from his time with RCB) so that is one area he should work on.
Pujara showed good spirit and if he can continue working on his strike rate he can be valuable anchor-opener for the team.