IPL 2021: Royal Challengers Bangalore Pre-Season Analysis

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Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will fight once again in the Indian Premier League 2021 to end its IPL trophy drought. RCB did reasonably well in the IPL 2020 except for the last couple of games. A lot of credit for RCB’s good performance could be credited to its support staff including the head coach Simon Katich and the team director Mike Hesson. RCB was thrown out from the tournament by SRH in the eliminator. However, there were a bunch of positives for them to take from the IPL 2020 season. They would hope to collect those positives together and move forward in the IPL 2021.

Current Squad:

Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Finn Allen (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, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddin, Kyle Jamieson, Daniel Christian, Suyash Prabhudessai, K.S. Bharat.

After the conclusion of the IPL 2020, the Royal Challengers Bangalore had a rethink on its squad and as always, the management was quite expressive with its actions. RCB released nearly half of its squad including Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, Isuru Udana, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Shivam Dube, Dale Steyn, Parthiv Patel and Umesh Yadav.

Every season, RCB loves to rebuild their team. Of course, they don’t have anything to lose unlike teams like Mumbai Indians who usually retain their core members as they are getting the desired results out of them. RCB did the same this year as well. Finn Allen will be replacing Josh Phillipe who will be missing IPL 2021. It’s a very fair replacement as both the players have similar roles to offer.

New signings:

As mentioned earlier, RCB is quite expressive with its bold moves. The IPL 2021 mini-auction was no different. RCB has been struggling with death bowling over the years and hence they needed some good overseas fast bowler. That’s the reason, they went for Kyle Jamieson as they already lost a bidding war with Rajasthan Royals for Chris Morris. RCB roped in Kyle Jamieson for a whopping amount of 15cr.

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Moreover, they even got the services of Daniel Christian which was perhaps one of the most fascinating buys of the mini-auction. Christian was picked by RCB for 4.8cr.

Another of RCB’s weaknesses was the middle order where they lacked a fair bit of firepower. Excluding his current form, Glenn Maxwell was apparently one of the best options. RCB acquired his services for a massive 14.25cr.

Strengths:

1. Balanced Middle order:

The Royal Challengers Bangalore have struggled quite often when skipper Kohli and AB de Villiers failed to deliver. They didn’t have someone who could lead the batting power in their absence. Moreover, even after their good performances, they missed those extra 10-15 runs in the death overs as there was no dominating batsman down the order who can take on any bowler. Glenn Maxwell could solve that problem for RCB.

The side looks very balanced as compared to the IPL 2020 as Maxwell and Daniel Sams, Daniel Christian are acting as a bridge in the lower middle order.

2. Death overs:

RCB has been probably one of the worst sides as far as bowling in death overs is concerned. Last year was a bit more improved although Saini was still leaking too many runs. He was not having enough control over the ball. Kyle Jamieson at times might come in as a saviour for the team in this situations.

Also, Christian has substantial experience with the most number of fifers with his name in the BBL. Kane Richardson recently had a decent series against New Zealand as a bowler. He bowled economically in the death overs which is a great positive for RCB.

3. Kohli as an opener:

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have been the backbone for RCB over the years. Virat in a post-match interview had revealed that he’ll be opening for RCB in the IPL 2021. Kohli has showcased his intent and his skillset as an opener in the 2016 season. He just had a magnificent season that year with an unbelievable 4 tons in the same year.

Top individual performances in IPL 2016: Virat Kohli's run-spree and Chris  Morris' manic assault

Virat Kohli celebrates a century (Image: Royal Challengers Bangalore | Instagram)

Kohli opening this year is a great positive for RCB, as they might get most from their main man. Kohli as an opener is at times more efficient in T20’s.

Weaknesses:

1. Jamieson’s lack of experience in subcontinent conditions:

Yes, Jamieson outclassed Indian batsmen in their home series. But he is yet to play in subcontinent conditions which at times might get tricky. Jamieson’s lack of experience in subcontinent conditions might go against the team. Josh Phillippe also had a brilliant BBL season before coming to the IPL 2020 but he struggled in the start due to a lack of bounce which he used to get in Australia. That might be the case with Jamieson as well, as he might not get the desired amount of bounce here.

2. No experienced capped Indian batsman except Kohli:

RCB doesn’t have a good Indian capped batsman apart from Kohli. Sometimes, it becomes an important aspect of the game. For stable team combinations, an Indian batsman is a must. It’s good that they have Devdutt Paddikal, who is uncapped but has been doing exceptionally well in the domestic Cricket.

Apart from this, they don’t actually have a huge weakness. The side looks stable. It’s just about getting enough game time and they would do good.

X-Factor player:

Glenn Maxwell will be the X-Factor for RCB. His performance will depict RCB’s run this year. In fact, not just with the bat, Maxwell as a bowler is quite underrated. He can throw a couple of overs in the middle overs or in the Powerplay keeping the run rate under control. Getting his form back could well define RCB’s success this year.

Featured Image: Royal Challengers Bangalore | Twitter

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