Royal Challengers Bangalore, a franchise that has had big names since the start of the Indian Premier League in 2008, is one of the more popular teams with a large and loyal fanbase. The armoury, especially in the batting department, however, hasn’t helped the team in crossing the line to get their hands on the IPL trophy. The Bengaluru-based franchise made it to the finals twice in 2011 and 2016, only to lose to Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, respectively.
Last year, the India skipper Virat Kohli-led side finished fourth on the points table at the end of the tournament. While the team had a decent run in the tournament, fans were left asking for more as it lost the way towards the end. The management then decided to, once again, revamp the squad for the next season. With an almost-fresh unit for IPL 2021, Royal Challengers Bangalore will be aiming to break the jinx and lift the trophy in the 14th season of the premier T20 tournament.
Royal Challengers Bangalore entered the mini-auction for IPL 2021 on 18th February with several empty slots in the lineup. The franchise spent big bucks on Aussie batting-allrounder Glenn Maxwell and New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson. Maxwell, who had a terrible run in the previous season, was picked by the franchise for a whopping USD 1.96 million, while the quickie Jamieson cost the side USD2.06 million.
The franchise has star batters in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, who will now receive support from Glenn Maxwell. Joshua Philippe was recently replaced with Kiwi wicket-keeper batsman Finn Allen after the former excluding himself from the tournament. With that in place, let’s have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the franchise, along with the opportunity and threats that lie ahead of the batting-heavy group.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have started each year’s competition as favourites. The franchise, however, has failed several times to live up to its reputation and finished the tournament at the bottom of the points table. Can Kohli & Co. repeat the heroics of 2011 and 2016 and make it to the grand finale and win the trophy this season?
Just like every other season, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s batting lineup for IPL 2021 also boasts some prominent names. The presence of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Glenn Maxwell should mean Royal Challengers Bangalore sending the ball over the boundary line more often than not.
Furthermore, the introduction of Indian batsmen Mohammed Azharuddeen and Sachin Baby, along with Aussie all-rounder Daniel Christian, to the squad further strengthens the lineup. Daniel Sams, Washington Sundar, and Harshal Patel are also expected to enhance the side’s batting prowess.
The fast bowling unit at Royal Challengers Bangalore is an inexperienced and unproven one. Kyle Jamieson, who went for big bucks at the mini-auction, is yet to play a T20 game in India, while Aussie all-rounders Dan Christian and Daniel Sams, too, don’t have much experience of playing in the Indian Premier League.
Then there are the likes of Kane Richardson, Navdeep Saini, and Mohammed Siraj. While Richardson played his most recent IPL game in 2016, Saini didn’t have a great IPL season last year. Siraj, too, has been expensive in his IPL career so far.
Uncapped Indian players like Sachin Baby, Harshal Patel, and KS Bharat have a big opportunity at their hands to prove their mettle on the grand stage. One of the better fast-bowling all-rounders in the domestic circuit, Harshal Patel can garner the chance and make a case for himself and knock the doors of the Indian team.
Devdutt Padikkal, an exciting batsman from Kerala, has been in fine form lately. The left-handed batsman scored as many as four centuries in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy, and could just be the right opening candidate for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2021.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have, once again, spent heavily on strengthening their batting lineup. Glenn Maxwell, who fetched a high sum at the min-auction, had a terrible run in the previous season. The Kohli-led franchise would be hoping for the attacking Aussie batter to justify his price tag and win games with his batting.
Similar is the case of Kyle Jamieson, who is yet to play T20s on Indian pitches. With not many match-winning fast bowlers in the ranks, Royal Challengers Bangalore would want Jamieson to do justice to the faith that the franchise has shown in him.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will open their campaign against the defending champions Mumbai Indians on 9 April in Chennai. The franchise will play three games in Chennai before heading to Mumbai for the next two games. Kohli & Co. will then play four games in Ahmedabad, while their final five matches are scheduled to take place in Kolkata.
Can Royal Challengers Bangalore turn the tables and do justice to their big reputation this season? Or its loyal fans will, once again, shake their heads at the end of the competition? We await the action as the 14th edition of the premier T20 tournament kick starts on 9 April. For further IPL updates, keep reading AlShorts, where we bring you everything from match reports to other happenings from the tournament in just 60 words.