IPL 2021 Preview: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
Royal Challengers Bangalore are one of cricket’s biggest enigmas. How is it possible that a side featuring (and captained by) Virat Kohli, who over the IPL seasons has had some of T20’s best exponents in it…can fail so miserably year after year?
We’ll work that out in due course, as well as decide whether the Royal Challengers Bangalore betting odds are attractive enough to side with them this time around or whether it will be an all-too-familiar story for one of the IPL’s glitziest but also most disappointing franchises.
As they prepare for the 14th edition of the IPL, Bangalore look in a good position in the IPL betting market.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE AT IPL 2021: THE STORY SO FAR
RCB are arguably the greatest under-achievers of any side in the IPL. Just how a team who has had Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in it for the best part of a decade has failed to win an IPL title is hard to comprehend. Worse still, they’ve only ever made two finals and only three playoff appearances beyond those two finals in 13 years.
But they’ve done exactly what they needed to do so far this campaign, winning five out of their seven games to date. In Kohli, de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal, and Glenn Maxwell, they have one of the finest Top 4s ever seen in T20 franchise cricket.
But the real success story has been the form of Harshal Patel, who has taken 17 wickets so far in just seven games. That means he’s currently the top wicket-taker in the whole tournament. Kyle Jamieson who is making his debut in the IPL this year has also impressed with the ball.
What they’ve done really well is have two or three bowlers who have returned excellent economy rates and that certainly hasn’t always been the case with RCB over the years.
Royal Challengers Bangalore at IPL 2021: What might happen next?
RCB might never get a better chance of winning the IPL than this one. Their team looks extremely well-balanced and the star names are all performing, while some of the lesser-known local players are also doing their bit.
What they need to decide on is who is their fourth overseas player. Maxwell, de Villiers, and Jamieson will always play but then it’s a straight choice between experienced Australian all-rounders Dan Christian or Daniel Sams.
Both are capable bowlers who love to bat at six or seven and hit the ball a mile. It may just be a case of horses for courses where they decide on which one of the two to play based on the conditions on the day.
Kohli hasn’t always been the best captain over the years, often being a bit guilty of not being particularly innovative with his field setting and bowling changes. But he certainly has the players around him to really go deep this year.
Verdict: This might be RCB’s best-ever chance of winning the IPL and if the big names all perform like we know they can, this really could be their year.
ODDS ON ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE TO WIN IPL 2021
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How did RCB do in IPL 2020?
You could say it was a typical season for RCB. On occasion they were brilliant, at times they were awful and for the most part, they were mediocre and looked poorly balanced.
After a slow start, they ended up making the Playoffs eventually but their fourth-place finish in the Group Stages meant they were always up against it because they needed to win three games in a row to go all the way.
As it happens, they went out at the first time of asking, losing a tight game in a low-scoring match against Hyderabad.
It tells its own story that not a single RCB made the Top for most runs scored and that only Yuzvendra Chahal made the Top 5 for bowlers, at number five, having taken 21.
WHO ARE THE BEST RCB PLAYERS TO BET ON?
The only place to start is with AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, who are the rocks of the side and have been for many a year. Their batting partnerships over the years have been incredibly prolific and they love batting together.
They’re also remarkably consistent so it tends to be one or the other who wins the RCB betting market on who will be their top batsman for each match. So, you could back them both ahead of each match and it’s quite likely that you’ll win on Kohli or on De Villiers. But the odds on them both are generally quite short as they’re always the favorites, so don’t expect huge returns.
HIGHEST PAID PLAYERS IN RCB
It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Virat Kohli is the highest earner on INR 17 Crore. But the previous highest earner, de Villiers (INR 11 Crore) has now been overtaken by new recruits Kiwi all-rounder Kyle Jamieson (15 Crore) and Aussie star Glenn Maxwell (16.25) as the next best paid.
Next on the list are Chahal, then new signing Dan Christian, followed by Aussie bowlers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: HISTORY
Bangalore have had one of the strongest line-ups in IPL, but they could never remove the badge of underachievers from their shoulders. This time also, they have a side capable of winning the title and will they end their wait is to be seen.
They, however, were close to winning the title on three occasions as they ended runners-up in 2009, 2011, and 2016. Kohli gave his best in 2016 with a record haul of 973 runs, but the team fell short of clinching their maiden title. They also made playoffs in 2010 and 2015.
Royal Challengers Bangalore were one of the original franchises that began the campaign at the inaugural IPL in 2008. Virat Kohli was with that first squad. He joined after his superb performance at the U-19 World Cup and ever since he has been the main figure for the side throughout their existence. That first team also had Rahul Dravid as the icon player, and Anil Kumble and Zaheer Khan as notable stars. Meanwhile, overseas picks included Mark Boucher, Cameron White, and South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis.
Gayle-Kohli-De Villiers Era
Despite the presence of star players, the team failed to play up to its reputation and finished seventh in the 2008 group stages. The poor performance saw criticism of top players by the team owner and also the sacking of CEO Charu Sharma midway through the tournament.
In 2009, they made some changes and roped in Kevin Pietersen, Robin Uthappa, and Manish Pandey. It brought some new energy to the team as they reached the title clash the same year. Unfortunately chasing a modest 144 victory target by Deccan Chargers, Bangalore managed 137/9 to lose the match by six runs.
Bangalore maintained their form next year as well, but they had to be satisfied with the third-place finish. Gayle-Kohli-De Villiers era started in 2011 when Bangalore bought the West Indian and the South African in the auction. Gayle took bowlers by storm as he scored 608 runs in 12 matches to win the most valuable player’s award. Bangalore reached the finals for the second time, but they lost to Chennai Super Kings in a one-sided match by 58 runs.
RCB Have Been Consistent Favorites Over The Years
Royal Challengers Bangalore became consistent favorites but from 2012, a mini decline set in. Gayle’s onslaught continued as he won the Purple Cap for the second year in a row, with 733 runs in 15 matches, but Bangalore finished in the fifth position. There was no progress for the next two years and the team could reach play-offs after four years in 2015.
In 2016, Kohli was in supreme form and there was a feeling that Bangalore’s title drought would end. Kohli scored heavily, taking the Orange Cap with an incredible 973 runs in the tournament. Bangalore entered the final with Sunrisers Hyderabad as clear favorites. Bangalore bowlers allowed the opposition to score 208 for seven. When Gayle and Kohli assaulted bowlers from the word go, it looked like the team will chase down the target easily. But apart from Gayle’s 76 and Kohli’s 54, no batsman could reach the figure of 20. Bangalore fell eight runs short of the target and their season ended in heartbreak once again.
However, next year, Bangalore hit the rock bottom, finishing eighth in the points tally. They improved slightly with a sixth-place finish in 2018 but slipped to eighth place last year. Last season they finished fourth and lost to SRH in the first knockout match they played.
IPL RECORD: Royal Challengers Bangalore
Here is a record of Royal Challengers’ results in the Indian Premier League since the tournament began in 2008:
RCB Notable Player Movement Since IPL 2020
There were plenty of high-profile exits after the 2020 campaign with Umesh Yadav, Moeen Ali, Aaron Finch, Dale Steyn, and Chris Morris among the players to have been released.
New signings include Aussie all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Dan Christian and New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson, another all-rounder with some serious power. In terms of Indian players, Sachin Baby makes a return to the team after a few years away.
Then there was the case of Josh Philippe. He decided to miss the whole 2021 season for personal reasons and has been replaced by Kiwi wicket-keeper batsman Finn Allen.
PROJECTED ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE PLAYING XI IN IPL 2021
It’s not so easy to predict who may get a game in their first match and the matter is made harder by there being quite a few overseas players of similar ability and only four places for them. But let’s try.
- Devdutt Padikkal.
- Virat Kohli.
- Glenn Maxwell.
- AB de Villiers.
- Sachin Baby.
- Washington Sundar.
- Kyle Jamieson.
- Mohammad Siraj.
- Navdeep Saini.
- Adam Zampa.
- Yuzvendra Chahal.
RCB: Team Strengths
Bangalore’s main strength has always been its top-order. Just look at that Top 7 above and you’ll see three proper game-changers in Kohli, de Villiers, and Maxwell who have power and class. The other four are pretty hot, too.
If they can find a place for Zampa to play alongside Chahal, they’ll have a good set of spin twins, but they may not be able to include Zampa because of the restrictions on the number of overseas players.
RCB: Team Weaknesses
Pace bowling. Who has that little bit of magic with the ball among the fast bowlers?
Well, Siraj and Saini are fine from among the Indian players but they’re hardly Jasprit Bumrah or Bhuvi Kumar, are they? Similarly, the only real quality specialist overseas fast bowler they have ahead of this season is Kane Richardson and he may not even play if RCB decides to go with batsmen and all-rounders in the four overseas positions.
Another weakness is that at home, they don’t necessarily have an advantage because the wicket is so good that it’s just as easy for other teams to go big as it is for them.
WHO ARE THE OWNERS OF ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE?
Like all IPL teams, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have powerful owners. In their case, United Spirits is at the helm. This is a subsidiary of the vast Diageo firm and it is the world’s second-largest spirits organization by volume.
Representatives of United Spirits can often be seen at matches and they are big backers of this franchise.
WHICH IS THE HOME GROUND OF ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE?
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s traditional ground is M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Built in 1969, the stadium has a capacity of 40,000.