2020 was a different year in most aspects, but one thing that didn’t change was Royal Challengers Bangalore’s fortunes in the Indian Premier League. They promised a ‘new RCB’ for the new decade, but the start wasn’t all that good; RCB failed to win the cup yet again. For a team that generates plenty of eyeballs about whatever they do, they’ll be disappointed not to have won the trophy despite being around since 2008. Will 2021 be the year they win the elusive trophy?
RCB made a solid start last year but lost way in the second half and finished fourth, losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator. That was their fifth straight loss in the tournament, which promised plenty in the initial part. It led to questions over Virat Kohli’s captaincy, with a few experts calling for him to step down from even the Indian T20I team’s leadership. That, obviously, hasn’t happened.
But the pressure will only mount with every season that RCB fail to lift the trophy. Nothing less that that will satisfy the fans, who have waited for long in anticipation.
Welcome Glenn Maxwell and Kyle Jamieson: RCB bought two of the three most expensive players in the IPL 2021 Auctions spending a total of Rs 29.25 crore on Glenn Maxwell and Kyle Jamieson. While the Australian maverick went for a sum of Rs 14.25 crore, the New Zealand all-rounder was purchased for Rs 15 crore.
RCB also invested in all-rounder Dan Christian and Kerala wicket-keeper batsman, Mohammed Azharudeen.
Virat Kohli to open: Kohli sounded a warning to IPL teams at the end of the T20I series against England, saying he’ll open the batting in the IPL too. Kohli wants to keep all options open ahead of th T20 World Cup later this year, and this might just be the move that does the trick for RCB. The last time he batted regularly as an opener for RCB, he scored more than 900 runs in the season (2016)!
RCB had a purse of INR 35.4 Crore with as many as 11 slots to fill in the IPL 2021 Auctions. They bought 8 players overall in the auctions spending Rs 35.05 crore.
Players Bought at IPL 202I Auction: 8
Kyle Jamieson, Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharudeen, Suyash Prabhudesai, Kona Srikar Bharat
Overseas Players: 3
Kyle Jamieson, Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian
Budget Spent: INR 35.05 Crore
Despite their buys in the auction, RCB have a few issues that remain. Jamieson is inexperienced in IPL, and has not been great in T20Is recently. Was dropping Chris Morris for Jamieson the right move? Yet again, RCB’s death bowling could be a concern if Jamieson doesn’t do well. They do have Kane Richardson though, and it remains to be seen if he gets a consistent run.
RCB’s Indian batsmen beyond Kohli and Padikkal is an issue too. They do have Washington Sundar, who is a much improved batsman, but they’ve also got to bank on some inexperienced batsmen like Mohammed Azharudeen or Sachin Baby either at No. 3 or at No. 6.
Probable XI: Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Mohammed Azharudeen/Sachin Baby, AB de Villiers (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Washington Sundar, Dan Christian, Kyle Jamieson, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal.
First match: vs Mumbai Indians on April 9 in Chennai.
Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Josh Philippe (wk), AB de Villiers (wk), Pavan Deshpande, Washington Sundar, Daniel Sams, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Kane Richardson, Harshal Patel, Kyle Jamieson, Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharudeen, Suyash Prabhudesai, Kona Srikar Bharat