Royal Challengers Bangalore is the "if only" and "so close and yet so far" team of the Indian Premier League. The Virat Kohli-led team has been runners up of three different occasions but has never managed to lift the crown. Last season, they were extremely disappointing as they finished sixth on the table.
In order to correct their usually top-heavy batting lineup, they have purchased Shimron Hetmeyer and Gurkeerat Singh Mann to add some weight to the middle-order. The Bangalore team has also traded in Marcus Stoinis to provide a finishing flourish to their innings.
Here's taking a look at RCB's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- The biggest strength of any team having Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers is their batting which will once again come to the fore. Kohli and De Villiers are both going to be fresh for the tournament which bodes well for RCB. If either of the two can get going, they will be able to win matches for the team.
- This season RCB has a plethora of options in the middle order. Adding to the presence of Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali and Pawan Negi are Henrich Klaasen, Hetmeyer and Stoinis. Thus, the Bangalore team will not be worried about losing wickets at the top and the top 3 can play more freely.
- RCB has not addressed their death bowling problems and this team still lacks someone who can be their designated bowler in the final overs. Last season, many teams exposed RCB's problems in the death and it particularly came to the fore when MS Dhoni's CSK chased down a score in excess of 200 by taking the game to the final overs.
- RCB will lose as many as three players in the middle of the IPL to World Cup commitments. Nathan Coulter-Nile, Moeen Ali and Marcus Stoinis are all sureties to make it to their country's squads for the quadrennial event which will cause a massive gap in the lower and middle-order of the team.
- If RCB can get off to a good start and then take a couple of matches to figure out their combination in the absence of those who will leave for World Cup preparatory camps, they will have a good chance of making it to the playoffs. Once there, the match winners in Kohli and De Villiers can certainly power them through to the championship.
- RCB has taken a punt on two young players -- Prayas Ray Barman and Shivam Dube. While the former is a 16-year-old spinner from Bengal who has impressed for his state side, the latter is an explosive all-rounder who made a name for himself in the Mumbai cricketing circuit. This IPL will be a perfect platform for them to make a meteoric rise in their respective careers.
- Kohli is an extremely expressive captain and so if things go wrong for the team, he takes it upon himself. Thus, the pressure of constant failures may take a toll on the Indian captain who has to keep himself mentally and physically fresh for the World Cup.
- Yuzvendra Chahal is the only quality spinner in the side and his form has been iffy heading into the tournament. Thus, RCB might face a serious challenge if the Chinnaswamy pitch behaves like last season as they will not have enough slow bowlers to take advantage of the track.
Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Colin de Grandhomme, Parthiv Patel (WK), Pawan Negi, Kulwant Khejroliya, Moeen Ali, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Tim Southee, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Gurkeerat Singh, Devdutt Padikal, Shivam Dube, Heinrich Klaasen (WK), Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Prayas Ray Barman, Akshdeep Nath