Last season, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) reached the playoffs, which is a high bar given their bottom-tier finishes in the previous three seasons (2019, 2018, and 2017). RCB finished sixth in 2018 after languishing at the bottom of the table in 2017 and 2019. With Virat Kohli still at the helm, the team should expect his IPL experience to eventually pay off and lead them to their first IPL win. In 2009, 2011, and 2016, RCB reached the final. Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Dan Christian, Finn Allen, and Kyle Jamieson are among the most talked-about rookies, but RCB has also invested in Indian power hitters like Mohammed Azharuddeen.
On March 22, Devdutt Padikkal tested positive for COVID-19, which dealt them a blow right before the season began. Padikkal, RCB’s top scorer last season, has been quarantined at home and must return a negative RT-PCR result before being able to rejoin the squad.
Apart from that, a core batting line of Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Maxwell is expected to shoulder the majority of the burden of putting up big totals for a team that has historically relied on batting.
RCB’s new stars
Maxwell, the most high-profile signee, has a long history in the IPL. The Australian ‘Big Show’ had a lacklustre season in 2020 for Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings), who released him ahead of the auction, and will be looking to rebound.
Richardson and Christian, Maxwell’s Australia teammates, will be helpful in the death overs; Christian can also use the long stick.
The surprise factors may be Allen, who shone for New Zealand in his debut season, and Azharuddeen, who lit up the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Apart from Kohli and De Villiers, Adam Zampa, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, and Yuzvendra Chahal were all retained as RCB attempted to build their centre around them in recent seasons.
Chahal, the team’s front-line spinner, will look to improve on his 21 wickets from last season.
Sundar, Siraj, and Saini all join the squad after memorable foreign seasons with India, and this young Indian community of players may be the team’s kingmakers.
Prospects for IPL 2021
Last season, RCB lost in the Eliminator to Sunrisers Hyderabad after winning seven of their 14 league matches, and Padikkal (473), Kohli (466), and de Villiers (454) were all among the runs.
Chahal (21 wickets) was the only RCB player in the top ten wicket-takers, so the team would need to focus on their bowling and use the new hires creatively.
RCB, on the other hand, have a decent chance of making the playoffs this time around, with most of their Indian batsmen in good shape.
They kick off their season on April 9 in Chennai against the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.