The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had a disastrous IPL 2017, where they ended up at the bottom of the points table.
For the IPL 2018, RCB retained Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and in a shocking decision, Sarfaraz Khan, who had missed the 2017 season due to a knee injury. RCB surprisingly let go of their impactful opener Chris Gayle.
In the IPL 2018 auctions, RCB went all out in acquiring some very good talents and focused on buying all-rounders. They bought batsmen like Brendon McCullum, Manan Vohra, Mandeep Singh, and keepers like Quinton de Kock and Parthiv Patel.
Surprisingly, they bought a plethora of all-rounders like Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Corey Anderson, Washington Sundar, and Pawan Negi. Their bowling side is filled with talents like Chahal, who was brought back using the RTM card, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Mohd Siraj, and Navdeep Saini amongst others.
With this, RCB has formed a brilliant squad, something they can depend on to win that elusive IPL title.
Let’s take a look at the strengths of Royal Challengers Bangalore
The biggest strength for RCB is the form of their captain Virat Kohli, who has been on fire even in 2018. The Indian captain scored 2818 runs in international cricket in 2017 and Kohli is currently the 2nd highest run-scorer in the history of IPL and is only 122 runs behind Suresh Raina, who has 4540 runs.
RCB swapped Chris Gayle for another destructive opener in Brendon McCullum. This means that the threat of RCB’s top three winning the game on their own still remains. If De Kock is added to the mix, then opposition bowlers are looking at a nightmare batting line-up to bowl to.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been bugged with no help from the other end. This time, he will have sufficient support in form of spinners like Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, and the English all-rounder Moeen Ali. They also have a good strength of all-rounders in the team, something that will come handy during the season.
Now time to view the weaknesses that RCB may face during their IPL 2018 journey
RCB’s biggest problem this season has been their biggest from many seasons before as well; lack of good Indian or foreign fast bowlers. Colin Grandhomme, Corey Anderson, and Chris Woakes can never be front line opening bowlers and Indian fast bowlers in Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, and Navdeep Saini are just not good enough. Their only hope is Umesh Yadav, despite his tendency to give away runs.
In short, they have Tim Southee as their lone genuine quick bowler, with the likes of Chris Woakes to partner with.
Another shortcoming is the absence of any middle order players in the XI. After AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Brendon McCullum, there isn’t much to be called a middle order. Sarfaraz Khan is a talented young boy, but is coming off an injury and is short on form. This leaves players like Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, and all-rounders to form a functioning middle order.
Unlike Shane Watson in last few seasons, RCB doesn’t have the luxury of a genuine finisher this time. In Chris Woakes and Colin Grandhomme, RCB has two big-hitters, however, their performance from last year hardly instills confidence amongst the fans.
BEST BUY OF THE AUCTION
The best buy of the auction for Royal Challengers Bangalore was Washington Sundar, who was bought for Rs 3.2 crore. Sundar proved his worth bowling in power play overs for Rising Pune Supergiant, and then for India during the Nidahas Trophy 2018 in Sri Lanka, where he begged Man of the series award.
IPL season 11 will be a perfect chance for him to push further into the Indian national team set-up and dislodge either Chahal or Kuldeep from the limited overs setup and make his own way into the Indian team.
RCB will want to forget IPL 2017 as a bad dream and recall their performance in IPL 2016 for inspiration. Under an in-form Virat Kohli and a new look team to look forward to, RCB can definitely see themselves as champions of IPL 2018.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Complete IPL 2018 Squad:
Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Brendon McCullum, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Quinton De Kock, 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, Aniruddha Ashok Joshi.