Can star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore clinch the ultimate prize?

IPL 2019 RCB

Under Virat Kohli’s leadership, the Indian cricket team has attained new heights. It has emerged as the powerhouse in all three formats and is transforming into a world-class squad. However, the scenario is reversed in the case of Royal Challengers Bangalore. The high-profile team is yet to etch its name on the IPL Trophy, despite their tremendous star-power.

RCB has featured in three IPL finals but has ended up as the runners-up on all occasions. The side went through a miserable season in 2018 despite possessing some of the biggest names in the world cricket. However, 2019 promises to be a better year for them.

The Bangalore franchise enjoyed a good haul in the 2019 Players auction. The Royal Challengers strengthened their middle order with power-hitters. They also purchased all-rounders who will provide depth to the batting lineup. RCB had already retained their core players in Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Washington Sundar, Parthiv Patel, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tim Southee and others. Chris Woakes, Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson and Sarfaraz Khan were released.

Fresh faces for the fresh season:

Shimron Hetmyer was one of the best buys this season for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 23-year old batsman has shined for Windies in all three formats and is currently the most tantalizing prospect in International cricket. Hetmyer has proved his T20 batting skills in CPL 2018 where he amassed 440 runs at a strike rate of 148.14 in 12 matches for Guyana Amazon Warriors. RCB signed him for 4.2 crores, and he can be the perfect finisher for the side.

After trading away Quinton de Kock, RCB replaced him with a like-to-like replacement by buying Heinrich Klaasen for only 50 Lakhs. The franchise received Marcus Stoinis in trade from Kings XI Punjab. The Australian all-rounder is a rising sensation in international cricket.

Showing faith in Indian youngsters:

The strength of the Indian contingent is often the deciding factor between IPL champions and others. RCB made a conscious effort to stitch together the local talent pool which can serve them for the upcoming years. Their most expensive investment was the uncapped all-rounder Shivam Dube. The youngster smacked 632 runs in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy for Mumbai which included two centuries and three fifties. Dube is a valuable bowler and can be used as a bowling option.

The franchise also signed up other domestic performers like Devdutt Padikkal, Milind Kumar and Prayas Ray Burman. They will be the surprise package in the upcoming IPL edition.

The persistent problem

Over the years, Royal Challengers Bangalore has grappled with the same pain points – brittle middle order and poor bowling attack. In this year’s auction, RCB has taken care of its weak middle order but the bowling problem remains unresolved. With Tim Southee and Nathan Coulter-Nile scheduled to return for their national squads, RCB may face a shortage of quality in the fast bowling department. Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Siraj have a tendency to be expensive and wayward at times. Kulwant Khejroliya and Navdeep Saini are inexperienced. RCB needs this bowling unit to step up if they are to dream of lifting the IPL trophy.