It has been 11 long years since the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL), in which many teams have so far tasted the flavour of victorious triumphs atleast once, while teams like Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have even went on to lift the IPL title three times. On the other hand, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) franchisee is still finding it hard to figure out the answers on when their right time will arrive. Even after entering into every IPL season as one of the favourite teams, the Royal Challengers are yet to unlock the mystery of winning an IPL title. Nonetheless, keeping the history aside, the Virat Kohli-led team will want to start afresh this year with the one and only aim to achieve consistency throughout the season which in turn might open the doors of glory. The 2016 finalists will be opening their campaign against the defending champions, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on March 23 in Chennai.
Before the start of the auction proceedings, the franchisee procured the smartest pick in Aussie all-rounder Marcus Stoinis through a trade window from Kings XI Punjab. At the auction, they grabbed the headlines for picking the promising debutant duo comprising of Windies swashbuckling batsman Shimron Hetmyer and Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube. Keeping an eye on future, the Bangalore-based franchisee also bought some young players like Prayas Barman, Devdutt Padikkal, Himmat Singh and Akshdeep Nath. Royal Challengers Bangalore addressed all their major issues at the auction, acquiring a total of nine players to complete their squad of 24.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s possible starting XI
After doing a lot of chopping and changing with his batting position last year, skipper Virat Kohli will be back opening the batting, a position where he is best suited with respect to the nature and the success of his game. He had a terrific season in 2016, when he opened for the entire season, amassing a scintillating record tally of more than 950 runs at a phenomenal average of 81.08 with a staggering strike-rate of 152.03. He will be hoping to lead from the front along with his opening partner, veteran wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel, who did a decent job last year in the minimal number of opportunities.
With his years of international experience and terrific ability, the ever-reliable AB de Villiers will be leading the RCB middle-order. With no extra pressure of playing the World Cup 2019 as he has already retired, de Villiers will have a key role to play in changing the fortunes of his franchisee this year. With some good batsmen yet to arrive, we could well be in wait to witness some of the most incredible and atrocious hitting from the former South African cricketer. Windies power-hitter Shimron Hetmyer will accompany de Villiers in the middle-order. With some terrific knocks on his back, the Caribbean swashbuckling batsman will be the player to watch out for in IPL 2019.
With Marcus Stoinis not available for the first few games due to national duty, Kiwi all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme will take his place as he is a like-for-like replacement. Grandhomme did exceptionally well for Bangalore last year, contributing with both bat and ball, whenever he got the chance. The promising Shivam Dube, who has the ability to smack some powerful blows lower down the order as well contribute with some crucial wicket-taking overs, will be desperate to showcase his talent and skills at the grandest stage of all.
After a dismal performance in the previous edition, Washington Sundar will be looking forward to contribute with an improved show with the ball. He will be partnering RCB’s premier leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been their go-to-man for a long time now. With a sensational tally of 82 wickets, Chahal would be eyeing to strike some much-needed form before the 2019 World Cup.
In the absence of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Indian fast bowler Umesh Yadav will be leading the fast bowling department along with the likes of Mohammad Siraj and Tim Southee. Both the Indian fast bowling duo of Siraj and Umesh will be desperate to leave a mark in the first few matches itself, to make their respective cases stronger for the vacant fourth seamer’s slot in the national team for the 2019 World Cup.
Probable XI: Virat Kohli (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Colin de Grandhomme, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal.