IPL Preview 2021: Royal Challengers Bangalore

Dan Christian shows off his new RCB uniform (credit RCBtweets)

IPL Wins: Nil

Coach: Simon Katich

Captain: Virat Kohli

2020 Lookback

With Virat Kohli at the helm, it feels like RCB should always be towards the top of the table. Yet year after year, they always find a way to come up short. 2020 was a fourth-place finish for RCB as they scrapped into the finals only on net run rate.

For Australian fans, RCB will be the team to support in 2021 with a massive five Australian representatives. The 2021 RCB squad is hugely different from the 2020 squad as Kohli looks for immediate success.

After 2020 coach Simon Katich dropped ten players, including one retirement, and with the remaining cash, went big at the auction. Bangalore would secure some big names with the purchases of New Zealand allrounder Kyle Jamieson and Australian superstar Glenn Maxwell. Each has been purchased for over 2 million dollars.

If there was ever a season for RCB to go all the way, then this will be the year.

Key Players

Glenn Maxwell

While he is criticized for his inconsistency, Glenn Maxwell’s upside is worth all the pain. Maxwell has had an up and down career in all forms, yet what continues is his game’s brutal nature. With such a stacked batting line up Maxwell will have a very different role than he has previously had.

Batting between the likes of Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, and Dan Christian, Maxwell will have a license to hit big from ball one. His innovation and skill are second to none.

Unfortunately, this didn’t translate to runs in 2020 as Maxwell only managed 108 runs from his 13 matches in 2020 before being dropped from the Punjab Kings playing eleven. Some suggested that he may even go unsold at the auction. RCB didn’t see this happening and spent over $2 million on his services.

With a career including 306 T20 matches, over 6500 runs, and 110 wickets, it is easy to see why RCB spent so big. The most incredible stat is a strike rate of over 150. If Maxwell can fire in a stacked batting lineup, RCB will finally add a trophy to their cabinet.

AB De Villiers

Perhaps the most accomplished T20 player in the world, De Villiers was the first genuine T20 batsman. While he has received criticism for leaving international cricket, De Villiers seems content playing worldwide in the short form. Crowds may get to see him wearing the green and gold of South Africa again in the world cup.

At 37 years old, De Villiers is closer to the end than the start. If his 2020 form is anything to go by, De Villiers will be around for a long while yet.

De Villiers proved just what sets him apart from the rest of the world in 2020. He struck 454 runs at an average of 45 and a strike rate over 158. The only question over De Villiers is whether he bats at 4 or 5 with Maxwell now in the side.

With the middle order of Kohli, Maxwell, De Villiers, and Christian, there will be less pressure on De Villiers this year. RCB has their best shot at the title in 2021, and De Villiers is a vital part of this title run.

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Player to Watch

Dan Christian

Christian seems to be a polarising figure in Australian cricket; some people love him, others seem to think he is overrated. One of the most experienced T20 players globally, Christian seems to win every tournament he competes in. Now having won nine domestic competitions, Christian will want to add an IPL to his list.

With RCB bidding 800,000 dollars for Christian, he will be in their first-choice team, likely batting six and bowling occasional middle overs. Having not played in the IPL since 2018, whether he can still play at this level is a question.

Christians last season in the IPL was 2018, and it wasn’t his best. Only 26 runs from his four matches along with four wickets. However, a lot has happened in Christiaans career since then. He has led Notts to a title in the UK and the Sixers to a BBL title. His batting has gone to a new level striking at over 180 in the BBL. His bowling, while expensive, is more than handy.

Whether Christian plays the entire IPL is yet to be seen, but his skill and experience put him in an excellent place to succeed.

Australians

Daniel Sams – An all-rounder who has burst onto the Australian scene in recent years, taking the BBL by storm. Sams offers RCB quick left-arm swing, as well as skilful death bowling. Importantly Sams also has the ability to strike the ball over the pickets at the death.

Daniel Christian – A feature of T20 leagues around the world. Batting in the middle order Christian offers RCB skilful ball striking at a high strike rate as well as a calm and experienced head. Importantly Christian also offers RCB an extra bowling option.

Glenn Maxwell – IPL 14 is another 2 million dollar payday for Maxwell, who will want to perform for his new franchise. Maxwell offers RCB experience, amazing batting skills that see him strike at 158 in T20 internationals. Maxwell also bowls off-spin, giving RCB yet another all-round option.

Adam Zampa – One-half of crickets favourite bromance, Zampa is an Australian white ball mainstay. Zampa has the ability to clamp the opposition during the middle overs. Offering RCB quick leg-spin and beautiful wrong’uns, which are sought after skills RCB would be silly not to use him.

Kane Richardson – Perhaps Australia’s most underrated quick, the South Australia posses all the skills of a quality T20 bowler. Offering RCB quick Yorkers and skilled slower balls he should make an appearance for RCB in the group stages.

Josh Phillippe- An exciting young prospect Josh Phillippe has pulled out of the RCB squad for 2021. Citing personal reasons linked to spending almost a year in bio bubbles, RCB will miss Phillippe who has been replaced by equally as exciting young Kiwi Finn Allen.

Predicted XI

D. Padikkal, M. Azharudeen, V. Kohli, AB. De Villiers, G. Maxwell, D. Christian, W. Sundar, K. Jamieson, N. Sani, M. Siraj, Y. Chahal

Full Squad

Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers (South Africa), Yuzvendra Chahal, Devdutt Padikkal, Harshal Patel, Daniel Sams (Australia), Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Adam Zampa (Australia), Shahbaz Ahmed, Kane Richardson (Australia), Pavan Deshpande, Glenn Maxwell (Australia), Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddin, Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand), Dan Christian (Australia), Suyesh Prabhudessai, K.S. Bharat, Finn Allen (New Zealand).

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