The eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League gets underway on 07 April, with Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals returning to the fore and joining other teams to vie for the title. Over the years, the tournament has gone from strength-to-strength with ever-increasing entertainment and quality quotient.
We go into another exciting edition of IPL wondering if Royal Challengers Bangalore can finally claim the title. Well, if you are an RCB fan, you must believe that it could happen.
Herculean batting lineup: Kohli, the best batsman across all formats bar none, is RCB's biggest strength. Without Gayle, captain Virat Kohli still has an explosive batting order with himself, AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock, Manan Vohra, Sarfaraz Khan, Parthiv Patel and Mandeep Singh in the ranks.
Assuring all-rounders: RCB have got hold of three excellent all-rounders, in Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Corey Anderson and Chris Woakes. They are all very capable, both in batting as well as bowling roles.
Potent bowling unit: In Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, RCB have two of the best spinners of the shortest version of the game in India. Plus, there is wiry pacer Umesh Yadav. Unlike other seasons, RCB have bolstered their bowling bringing in reinforcements in both spin and pace departments.
Woeful form of the uncapped troupe: Royal Challengers have shown faith in Sarfaraz Khan to retain him, but his recent form is far from satisfactory. Same is the case with other uncapped Indian players, including Aniket Choudhary and Navdeep Saini.
2017 hangover: Despite having the batting stalwarts in the ranks, 2017 was a huge disappointment and the side, captained by Virat Kohli, could feel the pressure to bounce back this year. And, more so if they don't get off to an encouraging start.
Team 1: Brendon McCullum, Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav
Team 2: Manan Vohra, Quinton de Kock (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Pawan Negi/ Mandeep Singh, Chris Woakes, Washington Sundar, Tim Southee, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav
Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Brendon McCullum, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Quinton de Kock (WK), Mohammed Siraj, Corey Anderson, Colin de Grandhomme, M. Ashwin, Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali, Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Pavan Deshpande, Anirudha Ashok Joshi
RCB fans should feel relaxed and confident of their team's chances as the odds favour Royal Challengers Bangalore (4) along with Mumbai Indians (4) to lift the title.
Top Run Scorer
Top Wicket Taker
(last 5 years)
|Year||IPL Standing||Captain||Highest run-getter||Highest wicket-taker||Win Percentage|
|2017||8||Shane Watson||Virat Kohli (308 runs)||Pawan Negi (16 wickets)||21.42|
|2016||2||Virat Kohli||Virat Kohli (973 runs)||Yuzvendra Chahal (20 wickets)||57.14|
|2015||3||Virat Kohli||AB De Villiers (513 runs)||Yuzvendra Chahal (23 wickets)||50.00|
|2014||7||Virat Kohli||AB De Villiers (395 runs)||Varun Aaron (16 wickets)||35.70|
|2013||8||Virat Kohli||Chris Gayle (708 runs)||R Vinay Kumar (23 wickets)||56.25|
Royal Challengers Bangalore have earned themselves unpleasant tags like “chokers, underrated and losing finalists” over the years, and 2017 was again a huge disappointment as they finished 8th. Sure, they have a chance this year. This could well be their year if, and only if, Kohli and de Villiers get an ample support of the bowling unit.