The Bengaluru outfit has once again managed to assemble a strong squad and RCB could just be the team to beat in this year’s tournament. This season the management has ensured that it has a fine balance of batsmen, bowlers, and most importantly all-rounders.
Having retained players like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and young Sarfaraz Khan, RCB looks like a complete unit, as compared to some of the other teams in the tournament. Cricketnext takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Royal Challengers Bangalore, and players who could turn up the heat in the tournament.
Kohli-De Villiers Factor
RCB skipper Virat Kohli and and South African AB de Villiers are perhaps the most feared batsmen in limited overs cricket. The duo have played together for RCB for a long time now and form a potent batting partnership at the top of the order. Both the players have the ability to change the game in a matter of a few overs, and the team will rely heavily on them if they want to do well in the tournament. They together hold the record for the highest partnership in IPL history (229).
The Bangalore team has some of the leading all-rounders from round the world in their team. Players like Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Corey Anderson can demolish any opposition with their hard-hitting abilities and add to that the fact that all are competitive bowlers makes for a heady cocktail. Presence of these players will ensure that RCB bat deep, and have the support of bowlers who can bowl economically, something where the team has mostly struggled.
This term is literally thrown at any combination of spinners in India. But then Yuzvendra Chahal and teenager Washington Sundar just showed the world why they deserve the tag, in the recently concluded Nidahas Trophy. Chahal has been doing really well for RCB in the last few seasons, and it was courtesy his consistent performance with this team, that he got a call-up for the Indian team as well. He has grown in stature immensely in the last one year, and can make batsmen dance to his tune. Sundar, on the other hand has impressed one and all with his economical bowling. RCB will be banking on them to deliver.
Uncapped Indian Players
This looks like a grey area for the team as some of the uncapped Indian players haven’t had a great domestic season, and their performance could be a matter of concern to the team. Players like Sarfaraz Khan, Aniket Choudhary, Navdeep Saini haven’t had the best of home T20 season. Services of these players will be of high importance for the team, especially Sarfaraz, who had shown a lot of promise, in last two seasons of the tournament.
As good as the team might look on paper, RCB can be highly inconsistent. Last season is the testimony to that- where they finished eighth after being the runners-up in the 2016 edition. If one looks at the tournament history, RCB has done well every alternate year in the tournament, which can’t be a mere coincidence. This unwanted inconsistency might be of low significance to the RCB fans, but it surely can turn a few heads, considering they always had a strong team.
Washington Sundar: The Tamil Nadu boy is definitely the one to look out for this season in the IPL. From being one of the most talented, to the most sought after, the 18-year-old covered that journey pretty fast. He was adjudged Man-of-the-series in the recently concluded Nidahas Trophy where he picked eight wickets at an economy of less than 6. He can bowl at the start of the innings, middle, and the death overs. Apart from being a complete bowler, he is a decent batsman and has a strike-rate of 112 in T20s.
2018 PREDICTION: STRONG CONTENDERS FOR A KNOCKOUT BERTH
If the team combination gets right for Kohli & co., RCB can go far in the tournament. The team would have to find a solution to their inconsistency, and maintain a winning momentum. The team somehow doesn’t seem to be progressing to the final though.
First Published: April 7, 2018, 11:12 AM IST