Very much like their team-owner Vijay Mallya, Bangalore based franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore too are full of flamboyance. After their poor inaugural IPL season, the franchise has come out as a force to reckon with.
After a forgettable first edition, they have always been among the top contenders to lift the trophy. In fact, the franchise reached the finals on two occasions (2010 and 2011), but faltered on both and are still waiting to lift their maiden IPL trophy.
Since the first season, the franchise has been relying on big names and has never compromised on spending some extra bucks to buy big players. And that’s why in the past too, they enjoyed the services of world-renowned cricketers like Kevin Pietersen, Dale Steyn, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Zaheer Khan and Jacques Kallis, to name a few.
Under the captaincy of Anil Kumble, they enjoyed success the most. In the second edition, which took place in South Africa, they reached the finals but lost a close encounter against Deccan Chargers. Even in the third edition, they finished among the top three teams and successfully qualified for the Champions League. Kumble then announced retirement and New Zealand`s star spinner Daniel Vettori was given the command of the team.
In the fourth edition of the cash rich IPL, the team went on to win seven matches on the trot, which was a record in the league. Chris Gayle emerged as the backbone of the team as he played many match-winning knocks, including two hundreds, which helped the team to reach the finals for the second time. Though they lost in the finals to Chennai Super Kings, Gayle remained the highest scorer and was rewarded with the Man of the Tournament.
In the next season too, the Jamaican opener ended up being the highest scorer of the league, but his team couldn’t manage to perform consistently and finished fifth. RCB didn’t play up to their reputation in the last edition as well, and under their skipper Virat Kohli, they couldn’t even manage to qualify for the Champions League by finishing fourth in the league.
However, when it comes to batting, RCB have always been one of the strongest batting line ups in the IPL. And before the IPL-7 auction they retained their three of the most destructive batsmen in Chris Gayle, AB de Villers and Virat Kohli. During IPL 7 auction, they bought another hard-hitting batsman Yuvraj Singh, that too at the highest price of Rs 14 crore, to make their batting line up even stronger.
RCB has always focused on their batting, but this time around they have tried to balance out a bit, as now they have Ravi Rampaul, Albie Morkel, Mitchell Starc and Ashok Dinda to strengthen their bowling department.
In Yuvraj and Morkel, they have two quality all-rounders. But by and large, this season too, the franchise will rely on its power-packed batting line up. They have many match winners in their side, who are capable of changing the fortunes of the game single-handedly, which is the USP of the team. It would be interesting to see, whether this time around, under the captaincy of Kohli, do they manage to lift the IPL trophy or they have to wait for one more season.
Key signings: Yuvraj Singh, Albie Morkel, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mitchell Starc and Ravi Rampaul
Key players missing: Vinay Kumar, Moises Henriques,
Strength: Have too many match-winners in their side and have one of the best batting line ups. Apart from that, they have quality all-rounders in Albie Morkel, Yuvraj Singh and Chris Gayle, who can perform in any given condition.
Weakness: They only have one experienced Indian bowler in Ashok Dinda, which means they would remain in dilemma throughout the season for which four foreign players to pick in their playing X1.
Indian players: Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Vijay Zol, Tanmay Mishra, Yuzvendra Chahal, Parthiv Patel, Yogesh Takawale, Shadab Jakati, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Harshal Patel, Abu Nechim, Sachin Rana, Sandeep Warrier
Overseas players: Chris Gayle, Nic Maddinson, Albie Morkel, AB de Villiers, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mitchell Starc, Ravi Rampaul
Probable playing eleven: Chris Gayle, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers, Vijay Zol, Albie Morkel, Mitchell Starc, Shadab Jakati, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda