Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had a tremendous outing in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). After three consecutive poor seasons, the Challengers were finally able to reach the cash-rich league’s playoffs. However, RCB couldn’t manage to qualify for the finals as they finished as the fourth-best team in that tournament.
The three-time IPL runners-up will be eyeing their maiden IPL title in the upcoming fourteenth season of the lucrative league, scheduled to begin on April 9. The Virat Kohli-led is preparing hard in the nets as they will play the tournament’s opening game against reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI).
For the IPL 2021, RCB has prepared a strong roster that can challenge any side in the competition. Star players like Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian and Kyle Jamieson were roped in by the Bangalore-based franchise, alongside some quality uncapped players such as Mohammed Azharuddeen and Rajat Patidar.
Let’s have a look at the ideal playing XI for RCB in IPL 2020:
Openers: Devdutt Padikkal,Virat Kohli
In a few matches last year, captain Kohli came to open the innings along with youngster Devdutt Padikkal and the move worked mostly in RCB’s favour. It is expected that fans may see the duo starting RCB’s innings again in IPL 2021.
Padikkal impressed one and all in his debut season after amassing 473 runs from 15 games with the help of five half-centuries. On the other hand, Kohli also had a fruitful season with the bat. He accumulated 466 runs from 15 matches and hit three fifties.
Middle-order: AB de Villiers, Mohammed Azharudeen, Rajat Patidar
With Kohli going to open the innings, the middle-order looks a bit inexperienced. However, having the likes of AB de Villiers in the team, it somewhere eliminates that problem. De Villiers also had a wonderful IPL 2020, scoring as many as 454 runs from 15 matches at an impressive strike-rate of 158,74.
Apart from De Villiers, two uncapped players, Mohammed Azharuddeen and Rajat Patidar, are expected to strengthen the middle-order of RCB. Both the players have impressed in the domestic circuit and hence paved their way in the RCB squad.
Finisher: Glenn Maxwell
RCB could add Glenn Maxwell in the middle-order, but that will weak their lower middle-order where teams need a hitter, who could change the game in minutes. And for this role, RCB had brought Maxi, despite his poor IPL 2020 season.
Maxwell was unable to hit even a single six in IPL 2020 while representing Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab). In 13 games, the Australian power-striker could only manage to amass 108 runs, with 32 being his best score. RCB would expect Maxi to fire all the cylinders in IPL 2021 and take them to newer heights.
All-rounders: Washington Sundar, Kyle Jamieson
The all-rounders’ role will be played by Washington Sundar and New Zealand sensation Kyle Jamieson. This will be Jamieson’s maiden IPL season. The Kiwi cricketer has so far played eight international T20Is taking four wickets, with 2/15 being his best. When it comes to overall T20s, Jamieson has taken 55 wickets from 42 matches.
On the other hand, Sundar had a decent outing in the last season. The Tamil Nadu cricketer picked up eight wickets from 15 games at a brilliant economy rate of 5.96.
Bowlers: Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Kane Richardson
Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Siraj are two natural selections considering the current squad of RCB. While Chahal will act as a specialist spinner, Siraj will spearhead the pace attack. Last year, Yuzi was the highest wicket-taker among spinners. He had taken 21 scalps from 15 matches. At the same time, Siraj ended IPL 2020 as the third-highest wicket-taker (11) for his side.
For the remaining bowler, RCB has plenty of options and paying attention to the experience, Kane Richardson looks like the perfect choice. Richardson has played 14 IPL matches and taken 18 wickets.
Here is RCB’s ideal playing XI:
- Virat Kohli – Matches: 192; Runs: 5878; HS: 113; Strike-Rate: 130.73; 100’s: 5; 50’s: 39
- Devdutt Padikkal – Matches: 15; Runs: 473; HS: 74; Strike-Rate: 124.80; 100’s: 0; 50’s: 5
- AB de Villiers – Matches: 169; Runs: 4849; HS: 133*; Strike-Rate: 151.91; 100’s: 3; 50’s: 38
- Mohammed Azharudeen (T20s) – Matches: 24; Runs: 451; HS: 137*; Strike-Rate: 142.30; 100’s: 1; 50’s: 0
- Rajat Patidar (T20s) – Matches: 23; Runs: 699; HS: 96; Strike-Rate: 143.50; 100’s: 0; 50’s: 6
- Glenn Maxwell – Matches: 82; Runs: 1505; HS: 95; Strike-Rate: 154.67; 100’s: 0; 50’s: 6
- Washington Sundar – Matches: 36; Runs: 186; Strike-Rate: 125.67; Wickets: 24; Best: 3/16; Econ: 6.87
- Kyle Jamieson (T20Is) – Matches: 8; Runs: 41; Strike-Rate: 151.80; Wickets: 4; Best: 2/15; Econ: 9.80
- Yuzvendra Chahal – Matches: 99 Wickets: 121 Best: 4/25 Bowl SR: 17.60 Econ: 7.67
- Mohammad Siraj – Matches: 35 Wickets: 39 Best: 4/32 Bowl SR: 18.35 Econ: 9.08
- Kane Richardson – Matches: 14 Wickets: 18 Best: 3/13 Bowl SR: 17.61 Econ: 8.38