IPL: Kohli’s RCB – Strengths, challenges and another attempt to break title jinx

NEW DELHI: Over the years, the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL franchise have been an enigma. A team that has boasted some of the best players from across the world hasn’t yet managed to win the IPL title.
Many have blamed their bowling units over the seasons, claiming they are too batting heavy. Their 2020 squad looks very different in that aspect.
Captained by arguably one of the best batsmen in the modern day game, Virat Kohli, RCB will once again look to break their title jinx this time around.
When it comes to batting, Kohli owns a plethora of records in the IPL but the coveted trophy is still missing from his cabinet. They finished runners-up on three occasions (2009, 2011, 2016) and remain one of the three existing franchises of the eight-team tournament, along with Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab, to have never won the world’s richest Twenty20 tournament. After reaching the final in 2016, they had three forgettable seasons.

THE BATTING SMOKING GUNS – Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, new purchase Aaron Finch. Three players who can single handedly snatch the game away from the opposition. Virat and AB have been teammates for a long time and know each other’s games inside out. Add Finch to that mix and this trio is definitely one of the most potent batting frontlines in the tournament. Finch also brings with him the experience of captaining the Australian limited overs sides. That makes the RCB on field think tank a potent one as well.

PACE ATTACK – They have strengthened their pace attack with the signings of Chris Morris, Isuru Udana and Dale Steyn, who was bought back at the auction after being released. RCB spent as much as Rs 10 Crore on Morris. They also have the likes of Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini, who will both have big roles to play. Mohammed Siraj also gives Virat an extra Indian fast bowling option.

THE SPIN FACTOR – Spin is likely to play a big role in IPL 2020, on the largely slow pitches in the UAE. RCB have a decent spin attack which includes the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Moeen Ali and Adam Zampa.
Zampa replaced fellow Australian Kane Richardson with the fast bowler pulling out ahead of the birth of his first child.

THE ALL-ROUNDERS – All-rounders are always very valuable and RCB do have a few match winning all-rounders in their ranks in Chris Morris, Moeen Ali and Shivam Dube. Washingtron Sundar and Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Isuu Udana can also chip in with valuable contributions in both departments
OVERDEPENDENCE ON THE BIG GUNS? Virat, AB and Finch cannot be responsible for the bulk of the run scoring in every single match. The middle order will have to be ready to step up to the plate. Parthiv Patel who will bat up the order will have a big role to play. In matches where the big guns fall early, RCB cannot be in a position where they can’t hit back
DEATH BOWLING – Recently, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal pointed out that RCB lost over 30 percent of their games due to their death bowling over the past few seasons. This is one aspect the team is definitely aiming to improve on in IPL 2020. In Steyn, Saini, Morris and Umesh, RCB will be hoping they have the resources to ensure runs are not leaked in the death overs
CAN’T HAVE PROLONGED BAD SPELL – Last season, RCB lost seven straight matches. The team cannot afford to have a prolonged bad spell like that in a league that is fiercely competitive and where the playoff spots are decided with just 14 matches per team
With the likes of Kohli, AB de Villiers and Finch in their ranks, RCB have fire power in their batting. However, overall they do look a little lean in the specialist batting department.
The batting big guns will have to do much of the heavy lifting, while the all-rounders and specialist bowlers will have to be at their best to make it to the playoffs and then beat the heavyweights to try and win their maiden IPL title.
The 13th edition of the IPL, which begins on September 19, will be held in a bio-secure environment behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. RCB will open their campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 21.

Full Squad: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Aaron Finch, Mohammed Siraj, Chris Morris, Josh Philippe, Moeen Ali, Shabaz Ahmed, Parthiv Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Isuru Udana, Dale Steyn, Pawan Negi, Devdutt Padikkal, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Washington Sundar, Pawan Deshpande and Adam Zampa

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