Indian Premier League’s most glamorous team over the years Royal Challengers Bangalore will hope to win its maiden title with skipper Virat Kohli at the helm. RCB have assembled a strong looking unit banking a lot on foreign recruits.
That, in turn, has seen them sacrifice some of their previous domestic players, but overall it is a formidable looking side that can spring some commendable performances. The franchise retained the obvious choices in Kohli and South African star AB de Villiers, and they also shocked the cricket fraternity by keeping Sarfraz Khan.
They brought back wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who brings a lot of impetus in the spin department. The franchise also got the explosive batting pair of Mandeep Singh and Manan Vohra in the auctions besides the experienced Parthiv Patel, who was a vital cog in the Mumbai Indians side that won the 2017 title.
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A lot of their purchases in the Bengaluru auction was that of foreign players. Eight stars were brought that include the likes of Brendon McCullum, Tim Southee and, Nathan Coulter-Nile. They spent the most on former Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Chris Woakes and backed it up by snapping his England teammate Moeen Ali.
As usual, a lot of emphases is on the batting, but bowling wise too they have some big guns. Although it is most likely that one foreign fast bowler will play, the Indian seamers to support him would be Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj. The spin department looks good too and with only four foreign recruits allowed in a side, several players will find themselves mostly on the bench.
Batsmen: In-form Virat Kohli is the main strength of this unit and with the form he is in against South Africa at the moment, bowlers will not enjoy facing him. Kohli sacrificed Chris Gayle for another veteran T20 king Brendon McCullum, with the latter expected to open the innings. Kohli will know that it is the best shot in firing RCB to a maiden title after the side having misfired in the earlier editions.
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Manan Vohra is expected to open the innings alongside McCullum and he is known to play in an explosive manner atop. The duo can blast past any opponent on a given day and the team needs them to get off to a good start for the other stars to come and join the party. With Kohli at No. 3 and the versatile AB at No. 4, RCB could not have asked for a better batting line-up.
Another vital option lies with Parthiv Patel with the think tank could go in for the southpaw as an opener to maintain the left-right hand combination. Quinton de Kock too was bought and how he will fit in the side will be interesting to see. 20-year-old Sarfaraz brings another option in the rich batting unit. The likes of Mandeep and Pavan Deshpande fill up the squad as batsmen in the side.
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Virat Kohli: Matches 149, Runs 4418, Best 113, Average 37.44, S/R 129.83
All-rounders: Chris Woakes boasts of being the side’s leading all-rounder with his heroics as a finisher and vital attributes as a pacer. Woakes was in brilliant touch with Australia in the recently concluded ODI series. Woakes strengthens the side in that middle order and his fielding too is a big plus.
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In Moeen Ali, the side has another option as an off-spinner and also a middle-order batsman. Moeen will be raring to have a go on Indian pitches and on most occasions, it could be a toss-up between these two England stars depending on the conditions. Also in the team is New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
The Kiwi star is a utility player and is a good purchase for the side. For New Zealand, he has been consistent in recent times and was in the KKR team last year.
Bowlers: Australia’s Coulter-de Nile is the leader of that attack and the experienced campaigner has shown he has the special attributes to make his presence count. He was instrumental for KKR last season and will look to play on a similar note this term for his new side.
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Tim Southee is another pacer in that line-up and has all the firepower to go all guns blazing for RCB. The Indian department has Umesh and Siraj, who will be vital for Kohli’s plans. The likes of Aniket Choudhary and Anirudha Joshi fill up the bench for the franchise.
The spin department looks good for RCB with in-form Chahal being in the thick of things. He will be well supported by the likes of Washington Sundar and Pawan Negi. The latter will need to come good and show he deserves a run of games after Delhi Daredevils decided against retaining him.
Weaknesses: With the bulk of foreign stars, not many of them will get a chance in the side. There is also a lot of familiarity with both Mandeep and Manan in the same team and they could have gone for another option. Otherwise, the team looks strong and could give opponents a run for their money.
There you have it, Challengers- the newest ensemble of the Bold Squad that we've all been waiting for! #BidForBold #PlayBold pic.twitter.com/R6TaAbbJq4
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) January 28, 2018