Will Virat Kohli and his RCB finally break their IPL curse?
Royal Challengers Bangalore have started their first leg of IPL 2021 by having 10 points in hand by winning 5 out of 7 games, placing them third on the table behind Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings.
IPL phase two is set to resume on 19th September in the United Arab Emirates. The side will have to resume the tournament without five of their overseas stars in New Zealand’s Finn Allen and Scott Kuggeleijn unavailable due to the tour of Bangladesh while Adam Zampa, Daniel Sams, and Kane Richardson declared themselves unavailable for the second leg of the tournament. This has affected them up to some extent as some of these players missing out were the team’s important players and also in the playing XI, with already missing out to get an Indian frontline batsman to fill the void in the middle order, But just in time have done well to recruit some global superstars in the likes of Tim David and George Garton, after their impressive performances in the UK over the last few months, and the Sri Lankan duo of all-rounder Wanindu Hasranga and pacer Dushmantha Chameera, adding to the squad’s already start-studded overseas line-up in AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell Kyle Jamieson and Dan Christian.
Rubbing salt into the wound, their head coach Simon Katich also resigned with Director of cricket operations Mike Hesson taking over his role.
RCB will resume the tournament with great form with their dangerous batting lineup, with hometown boy Devdutt Padikkal flying among the runs, AB de Villiers, And Glenn Maxwell have also chipped in with runs, and Harshal Patel leading with the ball with 17 wickets so far and holding the purple cap.
Let’s take a look at the official squad which they released last week, for the 2nd phase of the IPL in the UAE :
Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Devdutt Padikkal, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Azharuddin, Kyle Jamieson, Pavan Deshpande, Shahbaz Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal, Daniel Sams, Harshal Patel, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Dan Christian, Suyash Prabhudesai, KS Bharat, Wanindu Hasranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Tim David, George Garton.
Probable line-up –
Having spent ₹15 and ₹14.25 crores on Kyle Jamieson and Glenn Maxwell respectively, on one hand, Maxwell does dominate and is known for being one of the top players in the shortest format of the game, for Australia and in Big Bash, but when it comes to the IPL, his stats don’t stack up, but he’s done some amount of damage in phase one of this years IPL, scoring 223 in just 6 innings with an explosive strike rate of 145. Now that’s what you expect from a big-money signing and more importantly the “Maxwell” tag that comes along.
Also, like every season, they’ll rely on AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli who bat the majority of the overs and set the game up, now Virat Kohli, who’ll open the batting along with Devdutt Padikkal who’s been in great form and has scored 195 runs in 6 innings with a strike rate of over 152 in phase one of IPL 2021, this resulted in him making his debut for the country in the tour of Sri Lanka. The question is, can he do what he did in Phase 1 and put his name further up the pecking order in front of the Indian selectors’ eyes for the future.
Virat Kohli, whose prime position is opening the batting, he’s able to time the ball, play orthodox cricket and pierce the gaps to find the boundary in the powerplay and his role would be to try and bat through the whole innings and in the back end where he’s most dominant and dangerous, in that particular phase, he can take the game away from the opposition.
AB de Villiers will come at number 3 and then they’ve got Glenn Maxwell to finish the innings off at number four, they’re expected to bat the majority of the overs if Virat Kohli & Devdutt Padikkal depart early.
Dan Christian will probably come at number 5, another power hitter, and Mohammad Azharuddin at 6, this will make the top 6 fairly dominant and fiery for the remainder of the season.
With Washington Sundar missing out on phase two due to a finger injury, Shahbaz Ahmed might just be a perfect mix to replace Sundar at Number 7.
Then they’ve got Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal at 8 and 9, two frontline Indian bowlers who have got some experience now been with the Indian squad for quite some time, so that experience is a big gain and a better result is expected from these two as a lot depends on them if they’re looking to lift the trophy for the very first time.
Big money signing Kyle Jamieson will come at number 10, who’s done quite well in Phase 1, taking 9 wickets in 7 matches. Followed by Harshal Patel at number 11 who’s been a star and an unexpected and an unlikely hero for them, taking 17 wickets in 7 matches and also the current holder of the purple cap, so a lot is expected from him in the remainder of the season as well.
On the bench, they’ve got Daniel Sams, who’s quite impressive and was a good pickup in the auction. He can offer a good all-round ability and that left-arm option as well. Sachin Baby comes back but other than that their bench strength isn’t as solid as the other top teams in the IPL. So they’ll be heavily relying on their first 11.
The Season So Far:
It has been great so far, the team carrying the pressure from previous match and delivering the best and just putting all the teamwork and heading onto the next match has just led Kohli’s side into the top 4 and eventually with the signings they have, makes them to be in top four. While talking about some states in various department are mentioned below(after first 7 matches):
The newly recruited overseas players Wanindu Hasranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Tim David, and George Garton won’t be playing too many games due to the balance of the overseas players.
So RCB will finish top 4 this year, just like they did last year, but the difference is that this year they’ll have a chance of taking out the title with that 11 because that includes good bowlers, dangerous top order, and a powerful middle order to finish that innings off.