If there is one franchise in the Indian Premier League that boasts of star power, it certainly has to be Royal Challengers Bangalore. The team management, year by year, left no stone unturned to get on board the biggest names in the auctions.
In three auctions, RCB shelled out the highest bids to buy Kevin Peiertersen, Yuvraj Singh and Shane Watson.
But unfortunately the IPL trophy has eluded them for the last nine editions. The closest they came to winning it for the first time was during the last edition, in which they lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight runs chasing 208.
Though, they made it to the final in 2009 and 2011 against Deccan Chargers and Chennai Super Kings, RCB have faltered in the chase. That despite having the ‘Master of chases’ Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers in their ranks.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Kohli has become the face of RCB. Last year, he scored close to 1000 runs in the IPL notching four centuries to take RCB to the final. The feat holds weight as RCB struggled in the first half of the season and it was Kohli’s mindboggling streak, which provided RCB the thrust to make it to the final.
Main players this season:
Virat Kohli: For the last three seasons, Kohli has been the one-man army for RCB. While the team boasts of playing Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers both have failed to step up on important occasions. Last year, Gayle had to be dropped before he was picked again the final against the Sunrisers. It was his fiery 76 alongside Kohli’s 54 that set the tone for the home side chasing 208. But RCB has missed a team effort. They have looked good whenever Kohli is in the middle, but his departure meant that none of his teammates could take the reponsibility to finish a game.
Chris Gayle: The burly Caribbean can change the game in minutes. Gayle looks to murder bowlers with his power-hitting. Last year, he twice hit the ball out of the Chinnaswamy stadium. In the past, he scored the fastest century in IPL.
AB de Villiers: Switch hits, ramp shots, sweeping fast bowlers and executing dil-scoops is what makes AB de Villiers the most dangerous batsman. Not just his selection of strokes, he scores run pretty quickly with his ability to rotate strike. Even though he faltered in some matches in the last editon, with the final being the most important one, his presence at the crease could play in the mind of the opposition.
Tymal Mills: RCB have bought the English fast bowler in this year’s auction. He is capable of bowling north of 150kmph. Not only can he surprise batsmen with his stinging pace, he is also deft in bowling with the old ball. The slower one has been his deceptive delivery, which looked effective during England’s T20 series against India.
Shane Watson: He might not have numbers to show but he certainly proved a match-winner last season for Kohli and Co. His cameos and his clever bowling makes him an asset. In matches, where Kohli’s main bowlers found it hard to contain the opposition, Watson stepped up and provided crucial breakthroughs.
The squad: Virat Kohli, Chris Gyale, Ab de Villiers, Shane Watson, KL Rahul, Stuart Binny, aniket Chaudhary, Tymal Mills, Samuel Badree, Avesh Khan, Billy Stanlake, Sreenath Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal, Praveen Dubey, Kedar Jadhav, Pawan Negi, Adam Milne, Mandeep Singh, Travis Head, Iqbal Abdulla, Sarfaraz Khan, Harshal Patel, Tabraiz Shamsi