Can Royal Challengers Bangalore end their IPL title drought this season?
Royal Challengers Bangalore enter into the 12th season of the IPL as only the third active franchise that is yet to acquire the coveted trophy.
Unlike the other two, that is Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers, the Bangalore based team has always had the services of some of the best names in the cricketing circuit. Led by an enigmatic Virat Kohli, both the captain and management would be keen to bring the trophy home this time around. However, this leads us to questions, would it be possible with the squad that they have?
Royal Challengers Bangalore has had issues in the past…
There have been some glaring problems that Royal Challengers Bangalore have faced in the past. One of them has been there over dependency on Kohli and Ab de Villiers. Their batting looked meek and fragile after the departure of these two veterans and hence the team struggled to cope with the pressure that arrived with their dismissal during run chases.
They have tried to address this issue by luring a high on confidence Shimron Hetmyer. The West Indian had a fantastic series against India last year and Kohli seemed to have taken notice to that. Hetmyer might be given the responsibility of marshaling the middle-order and the fact that he will stay with the team throughout the course of the tournament will be a positive factor too.
How will Bangalore set up their batting this season?
This might also allow Kohli to open the inning, where the captain has been the most successful for the franchise. Coming right at the top also allows Kohli to set the tempo of the game, rather than having to follow it by batting at number three. Another smart trade done by Royal Challengers Bangalore was that of Marcos Stoinis.
The Australian all-rounder will probably stay for a little more than three weeks of the tournament but might add a lot of value to the team. His batting prowess and ability to deliver some good overs at the end would be crucial to their chances. Stoinis can be used as a floater in the team, depending on the situation. However, given the chance to open the batting, he might be able to exploit the field restrictions even more.
Shivam Dube was bought for big bucks in the auction and the all-rounder deserved it for his excellent performances in the domestic circuit. Dube is a powerful striker of the ball, but he is level-headed enough to alter his natural gameplay if the situation demands the same. He can also bowl seam up to contribute with some overs whenever required, something that brings a good overall balance to the team.
With all-rounders like Dube, Pawan Negi, and Washington Sundar, Royal Challengers Bangalore looks well-balanced from that perspective. These purchases have brought a good strength to their lower-middle order. However, a major area of concern still remains.
Royal Challengers Bangalore need to improve their bowling…
Their death bowling has always been below-par, or just poor to put it out bluntly. Royal Challengers Bangalore don’t seem to have addressed that completely in the auction, and it might again come to haunt them during difficult situations. Stoinis could be an answer to this but given the fact that he wouldn’t last long in the tournament (Australian players are expected to leave on April 23rd), their bowling personnel lacks a go-to bowler for the fag end of the inning.
Navdeep Saini is someone who has impressed with his pace and guile in the domestic circuit. He might be someone whom Kohli could try out as a possible option. Tim Southee and Nathan Coulter-Nile can lead the bowling attack but there are still doubts over whether Coulter-Nile will stay until the end. The Aussie pacer might have a shot for a place in the World Cup squad, and in that case, he might have to leave with his other Aussie counterparts.
The solution to seemingly Royal Challenger Bangalore’s only issue will have to be simple; like how Chennai Super Kings did last time around, have the confidence in your batting order to score more than whatever you concede!