Even Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers will struggle to drag IPL flops Royal Challengers Bangalore to first title
Royal Challengers Bangalore have a history of falling short. One of the original eight teams in the Indian Premier League, RCB have made three final appearances but are yet to lift the title.
The team also finished runners-up in the 2011 Champions League T20. Indeed, RCB have failed to fine a formula for success, despite Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle all calling Bangalore their IPL home for extended periods.
Despite signing some of the best and biggest stars in world cricket, Bangalore’s team has often lacked balance, particularly in the bowling department.
And little has changed ahead of the 2019 Indian Premier League, with the onus on inspirational India captain Kohli to drag the franchise through another campaign.
Royal Challengers Bangalore – The low-down
Owner: United Spirited Limited
Venue: M. Chinnaswarmy Stadium
Coach: Gary Kirsten
Captain: Virat Kohli
Full squad: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kulwant Khejroliya, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Colin de Grandhomme, Shimron Hetmyer, Devdutt Padikkal, Shivam Dube, Heinrich Klassen, Gurkeerat Singh, Himmat Singh, Prayas Ray Barman
Kohli will, at least, be supported by the retained De Villiers, who retired from international cricket last year but continues to blitz T20 franchise competitions around the world.
The addition of West Indian Shimron Hetmyer also bolsters Bangalore’s batting line-up which has been over-reliant on Kohli and De Villiers for far too long. Hetmyer has improved at an impressive rate and showed his potential in the recent series against England.
All-rounder Moeen Ali will find support from Australian Marcus Stoinis, while Umesh Yadav can look forward to another productive IPL, having finished as the fourth-leading wicket-taker in 2018.
But it remains unclear whether RCB have made enough additions to significantly improve on their sixth-place finish last year, even with the help of two geniuses in Kohli and De Villiers.
RCB – IPL history
The Challenger Squad is turning up the heat at Chinnaswamy Stadium! #PlayBold pic.twitter.com/6rFGY2QRUb
— Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) March 20, 2019
STAR PLAYER – Virat Kohli (India)
The best player in the world goes into the tournament in excellent form, having scored back-to-back centuries in India’s surprising ODI series defeat to Australia earlier in the month.
Kohli averaged almost 50 last season and will expect to surpass former India all-rounder Suresh Raina as the leading run-scorer in IPL history this year.
SURPRISE PACKAGE – Marcus Stoinis (Australia)
The Australian all-rounder has featured briefly in the last three Indian Premier Leagues but can expect a more prominent role for RCB this season after an impressive year.
Stoinis, now a regular in Australia’s one-day teams, is capable of producing influential performances with bat and ball and relishes performing on the big stage.
Indian Premier League 2019 odds
Hyderabad Sunrisers: 9/2
Chennai Super Kings: 5/1
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 6/1
Mumbai Indians: 6/1
Kolkata Knight Riders: 6/1
Rajasthan Royals: 6/1
Delhi Capitals: 8/1
Kings XI Punjab: 10/1