We take a look at the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the build-up to the new IPL season.It’s insane to think that the Royal Challengers Bangalore have yet to claim an IPL title. They’ve been able to boast the best squad (on paper at least) over the last few years and are arguably the wealthiest team in the competition behind the Mumbai Indians – so where has it all gone wrong for one of the most popular teams in the land?
Being losing finalists on three occasions seems to suggest they hold it together pretty well until the pressure is really on. Can they go one better this season or will it be more of the same from Kohli and co?
They’re once again the bookmakers’ favourites. And why wouldn’t they be when they can field talent like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, KL Rahul and Travis Head?
In terms of the auction, the Royal Challengers went berserk, splashing out just under $1.8 million for the 24-year-old English sensation, Tymal Mills. How they were willing to fork out so much money for a largely unproven bowler – especially one with a genetic back condition that could potentially cut short his season as well his career?
Well, he’s quick: he consistently bowls at over 145kph and he’s a white ball specialist due to his back issues – and that’s about it. He’s only played four T20 internationals, never picking up more than one wicket in a match. His Big Bash performances were limited to two games while he never really set the world alight in the PSL. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares this season and if he can even string together more than five games for the franchise.
While all the hype is around Mills, the Royal Challengers will no doubt be looking to their batsmen to do majority of the work in this tournament. De Villiers (52.84) and Kohli (81.08) both averaged more than 50 last season while Rahul grabbed four half-centuries at an average of 44.11. There are a few question marks surrounding Gayle and Watson though, both of whom flattered to deceive in last season’s edition of the tournament.
As is always the case with the Royal Challengers, I worry about their bowling attack. Sreenath Arvind, Yuzvendra Chahal and Aniket Choudhary / Iqbal Abdulla will all likely grab starts. I don’t see their attack keeping opposition scores down. If they are to go all the way in this tournament, expect their batsmen to do all the work again.
One to Watch: Tymal Mills
The youngster simply won't be able to escape his massive price tag. Every ball he bowls will be scrutinised by fans and pundits alike. This could be a watershed tournament in his career - either rise to the occasion or cave under the pressure.
You simply can’t ignore the threat of a side that boasts the likes of de Villiers, Kohli and Gayle. They’ll set massive targets and chase down some colossal scores this season all the way to the play-offs – and in my opinion – the final. Whether or not they can hold their nerve when the pressure is at its greatest remains to be seen.