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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: Will the underachieving RCB finally taste victory?

Popular but winless, here's a SWOT analysis of the Bangalore-based franchise.

IPL 2021: Will the underachieving RCB finally taste victory?

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers will reprise their roles as the two pillars of RCB (Source: DNA)


Rashi Bhattacharyya

Published: 4 April 2021 6:06 AM GMT

Royal Challengers Bangalore is one of the most popular franchises in the Indian Premier League.

Despite having a fiercely loyal fanbase and featuring the best cricketing stars throughout all editions, the titular glory has remained out of the team's reach.

After finishing fourth last year following their loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator, RCB is set to launch yet another campaign to claim the trophy in IPL 2021.

In order to give a new look to the team, RCB's management unexpectedly released big names like Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Dale Steyn, and Umesh Yadav.

As a result, they entered the auction with the second-largest purse and were able to make some rather interesting choices.

With the addition of Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson, Daniel Christian, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Suyash Prabhudessai, KS Bharat, Finn Allen, Daniel Sams and Harshal Patel, RCB has tried desperately to address the problem areas.

Whether they have done it successfully can only be determined when the matches begin.

For the time being though, let's see how things are looking for the squad on paper in this SWOT analysis for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The 'Strengths' of Royal Challengers Bangalore

Captain Kohli's return to form

Virat Kohli has been the most consistent performer for RCB since the beginning of IPL.

While this has certainly increased the dependency on him, his form is extremely important for the team's success.

After going through a slight slump during recent international fixtures, captain Kohli regained his lost touch during the T20I series against England, where he emerged as the player of the tournament.

His return to form in the format against a formidable side is definitely a positive sign for RCB.

A strong batting line-up

At least on paper, RCB's batting line-up looks strong.

Last year's sensation Devdutt Padikkal is in red-hot form after his exploits in the recently-concluded Vijay Hazare trophy.

Emerging as the team's leading run-scorer in IPL 2020, the southpaw is set to reprise his role as an opener alongside Kohli.

Team veteran AB de Villiers has retired from international cricket, which keeps him active in the T20 league circuit for only 3-4 months.

However, the lack of match time didn't hamper his game at all in 2020 as he went on to score crucial knocks for the squad.

RCB fans will hope that he repeats that act once again.

Along with these usual contributors, options like Mohammed Azharuddeen, Finn Allen, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, and Daniel Christian gives RCB a chance to fill their batting line-up with attacking options and solidify their weak middle order.

The 'Weaknesses' of Royal Challengers Bangalore

No established names in the pace attack

When it comes to RCB's bowling department, the franchise has good spin options in the form of Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Adam Zampa and Maxwell.

But there are no well-established pacers in the team.

After the departure of Chris Morris, Dale Steyn, and Umesh Yadav, RCB is in dire need of in-form fast bowlers, especially the ones who can perform well during the dangerous death overs.

The first options for RCB are Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini, who struggle in the shortest format of the game and tend to be expensive.

Kyle Jamieson, Bangalore's costliest buy at the recent auctions, lacks international experience in the format and may prove to be a high-priced gamble gone wrong if he is unable to bring his domestic success to the IPL stage.

Furthermore, RCB can choose between Christian, Daniel Sams and Kane Richardson - all medium-pace bowling options.

The 'Opportunities' for Royal Challengers Bangalore

The potential of domestic investments

RCB banked heavily on the players from the domestic circuit during the 2021 auctions.

If they are given ample opportunities, new additions like Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharudeen, Suyash Prabhudessai, and KS Bharat can emerge as the next stars of the IPL.

Since almost all of them are currently in reasonably good form, they can even take the pressure off of the lead players from time to time.

The 'Threats' that Royal Challengers Bangalore need to be wary of

The over-dependency on Kohli and de Villiers

The fact that RCB heavily relies on skipper Kohli and de Villiers is known beyond doubt.
Therefore, whenever the opposition manages to dismantle these two pillars, the squad often falls to its knees.
Even though they are the stars of RCB, cricket is a team game that requires a balanced act.
To avoid this, other players, especially the batsmen, need to step up their game at every opportunity.

Maxwell's poor run in IPL

Another major threat for RCB is their INR. 14.25 Crore acquisition - Glenn Maxwell.

The Australian is undoubtedly one of the best all-rounders in international cricket. However, in the last couple of years, he has failed to meet the expectations in the IPL.

Since he had a decent run in the 2021 Big Bash League, many IPL franchises placed their faith in him and started a bidding war for him.

Although RCB earned the right to field the player, they can't afford to have Maxwell misfire.

Even for the 32-year-old, his lucrative run in the IPL might just end if he fails for RCB in IPL 2021.

In summary...

RCB begin their IPL 2021 campaign against defending champions and favourites Mumbai Indian on April 9.

Their new squad will have to adapt quickly and learn to function as a unit.

The dynamic and rapid pace of IPL means that teams cannot afford to fall back at the outset and RCB knows that better than most teams.

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