The perennial underachievers of the IPL, nothing describes the Royal Challengers of Bangalore better than this. They’ve always come up short even having a star studded side, boasting the likes of the best in the business in Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers and Chris Gayle. It was even worse for them last year when they finished second last in the table. Now, after cutting loose their budget they’ve bought some quality players that have either won the IPL previously or have made matchwinning performances elsewhere. Here we take a look at the Royal Challengers Bangalore of 2015.
Departures : Yuvraj SIngh (DD), Albie Morkel (DD),Ravi Rampaul, Sachin Rana, Shadab Jakati, Tanmay Mishra, Muttiah Muralitharan
Arrivals : Dinesh Karthik, Darren Sammy, Sean Abbott, Adam Milne, David Wiese, Mandeep Singh, Manvinder Bisla, Iqbal Abdulla, Jalaj Saxena, S Badrinath, Sarfaraz Khan, Shishir Bhavane
Like every year, this year too RCB had some big spendings. They had signed Indian wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik for a sum of 10.5 crores, as well as buying T20 ace Darren Sammy, Australian rising star Sean Abbott and Kiwi speedster Adam Milne. They also managed to get South African allrounder David Wiese, adding depth to their both batting and bowling. Overall, RCB has managed to do some good work in the auctions. But for a change, let’s hope fortune actually falls in their favour. Let’s take a look at how they may line up :-
Chris Gayle : The tall Jamaican like always will the main face of the RCB batting line up. Arrived in 2011, he has been and still is an indispensable figure of the RCB team. From a record making double ton in the World Cup, things have been shaky for him. As the game progresses, his form will be key heading into the later stages of the tournament. Unless he picks up an injury, RCB may replace him with the impressive South African Rilee Roussow or Australian Batsman Nic Maddinson.
Mandeep Singh : The young Punjab lad would look to fill in the uncapped quota. He had been the breakout star of his previous team Kings XI Punjab until last season when limited opportunities forced him to make the move. He has scored 727 runs at a Strike rate of almost 120. Could get himself back to the IPL glitz if he manages to keep consistency. Could be an alternated with Manvinder Bisla/Yogesh Takawale.
Virat Kohli : Has been a part of RCB since it’s inception, Virat Kohli has indeed come a long way. Not only as a captain for RCB, but recently he has become the captain of the Indian Test Team. He had a flop IPL last season and would look to keep the blemish aside with some strong showings. Would also be looking to keep his critics shut with some good performances and help RCB fight for the title.
Dinesh Karthik : One of the marquee buys of this season, Dinesh Karthik looks set to repay the faith RCB has kept in him in spending big and buying him. He has been a consistent performer for whichever team he has played for, previously playing for DD and finishing as their top scorer last season before being released. He comes from an impressive Ranji season for Tamil Nadu where he finished as the second highest run getter with 819 runs in 19 innings, averaging 43.10. He would look to continue that fine form and help himself earn a recall to the Indian side, atleast for the test side left vacant by MS Dhoni.
AB De Villiers : The best in the business, AB De Villiers would also look to keep his good touch from the World Cup heading into the IPL. He was retained last season by the franchise and would exactly repeat the heroics of last season to win matches for RCB. Would play the role of the finisher or an innings builder if early wickets fall for the team. Everyone would be buzzing for Mr.360 to show his unorthodox and entertaining batting style this season 😀
S Badrinath : Has been a consistent figure in the Ranji Trophy and has already won two IPL trophies while playing for Chennai Super Kings, the career of Badrinath has been far from fantasy. Entering into the twilight of his career he could be used as a flexible option in the batting order if early wickets fall or to stabilize the innings.
Darren Sammy : Signed from Sunrisers Hyderabad for a sum of 2.3 crores, he would be deployed as the finisher of the team and could chip in a few overs as a regular bowling option. Could alternate with David Wiese if he fails/injured.
Mitchell Starc : Over the years, RCB’s bowling has been a main concern and has always let them down even in the games in which they’ve been in a winning position. And Starc can be used exactly to overrule the jinx. His confidence must be sky high after being named Man of the Tournament from the recently concluded World Cup and climbing to the top in the ODI bowling rankings. Unfortunately for him, he’d be missing the opening 2-3 weeks of the tournament due to a knee niggle. Would be looking to Sean Abbott/Adam Milne to fill in his place till he returns.
Varun Aaron : To accompany Starc in the bowling lineup, no one can be a better option than Varun Aaron. He can swing the ball in both ways, pacing upto the 150 km/h mark and could form a deadly partnership with Starc provided if he keeps the needed consistency and focuses on his length a bit more.
Yuzvendra Chahal : Of the star studded batting lineup and Mitchell Starc’s bowling performances, nobody had expected the young Haryanvi leg spinner to emerge as the breakout star of the season. Even on the batting friendly wickets, he had managed to keep control of his spin and get much needed wickets at crucial stages.
Iqbal Abdulla : The reason he was picked ahead of an extra seamer in Ashoke Dinda, Harshal Patel and Abu Nechim was because of an extra spin bowler which was much needed for the team. He could be used to tighten the overs in the middle of the innings and keep the pressure mounting on the batsman.
Their batting is the main suit like always. And an improvement in bowling would make them give tough competition to other sides. They begin their IPL campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Saturday, April 11th.