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IPL 2019: Death Bowling Likely to Remain RCB's Achilles Heel Once Again

Despite boasting of some of the biggest names in world cricket, Royal Challengers Bangalore's trophy cabinet remains bare.

Hardik Worah |March 22, 2019, 9:57 PM IST
IPL 2019: Death Bowling Likely to Remain RCB's Achilles Heel Once Again

Despite boasting of some of the biggest names in world cricket, Royal Challengers Bangalore's trophy cabinet remains bare. Bangalore have often been accused of having squads that lack balance, but they have tried to address those issues in the auction for the 2019 edition, and have a unit that looks quite solid on paper.

The franchise also made some tough calls by sacking head coach Daniel Vettori, batting and fielding coach Trent Woodhill and bowling coach Andrew McDonald ahead of the season. Bangalore then appointed Gary Kirsten as head coach and Ashish Nehra will be the bowling mentor.

Here's our preview of RCB who will be involved in the tournament opener against Chennai Super Kings on March 23.

STRENGTHS

Bangalore will once again rely on their batsmen to lead them to glory as the department is heavily stacked again. In the past, the electrifying duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have been expected to do the bulk of the scoring and will again be the mainstays of the batting lineup. However, the team has managed to acquire the services of big-hitting Windies batsman Shimron Hetmyer and smashing all-rounder Shivam Dube at a combined cost of Rs 9.2 crore. The two, along with the likes of Marcus Stonis, Moeen Ali, Akshdeep Nath, Heinrich Klaasen, Milind Kumar, Gurkeerat Singh, Colin de Grandhomme and Washington Sundar will be expected to bring some consistency to the middle-order that Bangalore have lacked in the last couple of years.

The team looks quite balanced on paper because of the number of all-rounders or utility players they have. The likes of Stoinis, Moeen, de Grandhomme, Washington and Pawan Negi can chip in all facets of the game and will provide Kohli plenty of options to work with.

WEAKNESSES

The franchise made a lot of investment in their bowling department last season but things didn't quite go as planned. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Tim Southee and Kulwant Khejroliya were taken for cleaners in the death overs and the team has made no attempt to address this issue. Bangalore will rely heavily on Coulter-Nile, who missed last season with a stress injury, to lead the bowling department and will hope other bowlers step us as well. They will also have to find a way to include Navdeep Saini in the XI at some stage of the tournament. Bangalore also have a well-rounded spin department in Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington, Moeen and Pawan Negi but apart from the former not one was able to cement his place in the XI.

Bangalore also doesn't have a single renowned opener unless Kohli once again puts his hand up. They will most certainly start with Parthiv Patel, and Stoinis is someone else who can be looked at for this role. The all-rounder opened for his BBL franchise Melbourne Stars and played the same role for Australia in T20I against India.

PAST RECORD

They have a way of starting slow and growing in confidence as the season goes on. The trend has cost them on six occasions – they ended in the bottom half six times in the last 11 editions – but when they do bounce back, Bangalore usually end up making the final. Thrice (2009, 2011, 2016) they have made it to the title round and each time they’ve lost. Last season, they managed to keep themselves in the race till the very end but failed to make it to the playoffs, finishing sixth with six wins and eight losses.

2019 AUCTION ACTION

Having let go of Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Corey Anderson, Sarfraz Khan, Quinton de Kock (traded) and Mandeep Singh (traded), Bangalore arrived at the auction with Rs 18.15 crore in their purse. They splurged on Hetmyer (Rs 4.2 crore), Dube (Rs 5 crore) and Nath (Rs 3.6 crore), but managed to get good deals on Klaasen (Rs 50 lakh) and in-form Milind (Rs 20 lakh). Bangalore surprisingly didn't invest much in the bowling department apart from paying Rs 1.4 crore for teenaged Bengal leggie Prayas Barman.

WORLD CUP EFFECT

Bangalore will be without Stoinis and Coulter-Nile for the first couple of games as they will be involved in a five-match ODI series against Pakistan in UAE. If selected for World Cup, the two will also have to attend a pre-tournament camp in early May and will not be allowed to take part in the final few weeks of the IPL. England are also scheduled to play Ireland and Pakistan in May, resulting in Moeen's early departure. However, now-retired de Villiers, Hetmyer, Southee and de Grandhomme will be available for the entire competition.

SQUAD

Virat Kohli (capt), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Shimron Hetmyer, Devdutt Padikkal, Heinrich Klaasen, Himmat Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Marcus Stoinis, Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Washington Sundar, Shivam Dube, Milind Kumar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Prayas Barman, Akshdeep Nath, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kulwant Khejroliya, Tim Southee, Mohammed Siraj, Nathan Coulter-Nile.

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