They have some of the most explosive hitters in their batting line-up and fast bowlers with express pace. Their auction strategy has been grabbing all the headlines, thanks to their expensive buys. Yet, the Royal Challengers Bangalore remain a bunch of talented individuals still looking to win that elusive first T20 title.
RCB‘s biggest weakness is their ability to cope with pressure during must-win games. Far too often, they have been winning inconsequential matches and losing the important ones. Their batting has misfired, their bowlers have leaked runs time and again. All when it mattered the most. Nobody can forget that fateful RP Singh no-ball to Ravindra Jadeja in 2013 that showed the door to RCB. Last year, they started on a winning note but eventually lost their way in the second half of the tournament. Consistency has always been an issue with the Challengers.
The team boasts of a 26-member squad which, to be honest, is a good thing. Mitchell Starc will miss the start of the tourney, while Adam Milne is still recovering. In their absence, Varun Aaron will spearhead the bowling attack. So they’ve still got enough options to fit in the bowling department. Plus, the inclusion of local and uncapped players makes for a solid back-up. The depth of their squad is probably one of their biggest strengths going into the tournament. Whether they can make the most of it and create a match-winning XI remains to be seen.
As much as we’d love Chris Gayle to go bonkers against the bowlers, his limitation as a batsman convinces us that he’s no longer the same. The back injury doesn’t allow him to run singles, which in turn puts pressure on the other batsman. Of course, when the Gaylestorm gets going, he’s unstoppable. But he can no longer be relied upon solely. Hence, RCB’s success now depends more on the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and others. They also have an able all-rounder in Darren Sammy, who was bought at this year’s auction.
The spinners have done an outstanding job for the Challengers. Last year, Yuzvendra Chahal produced results that made Daniel Vettori a proud coach. He racked up 12 wickets in the tournament. With an ability to take the pace off the ball, Chahal will once again be a vital cog in the RCB setup.
"Flashes of brilliance" would perhaps be the best way to describe the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The players are match-winners in their own individual capacity. But when it comes to bringing all of it together, the plan doesn’t work. No team can depend on just a couple of players for their success, and it’s about time that RCB realize it.
The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium will once again witness the waving of red and gold flags. Chants of "R-C-B! R-C-B!" will envelope the city of Bengaluru. Fans will once again get behind their captain, Virat Kohli, hoping to bring home that glittering piece of gold.
Can the Royal Challengers Bangalore bring their A-game to the tournament? We’ll have to wait and watch!