One of the three teams yet to win an IPL trophy, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) started off on a high in 2020, before succumbing to a series of defeats which ruled them out in the eliminator. The Virat Kohli-led side made a number of changes post the season to address some of their issues.
RCB went big in the auctions for Glenn Maxwell and emerging Kiwi all-rounder Kyle Jamieson, and also made a couple of decent trade-ins.
Going into the tournament, the squad does hold a slightly different look compared to last season, but it cannot be said that they have managed to address all their issues.
As we near the tournament, we take a look at three possible overseas combinations that RCB can play with this season:
#3 AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian, Daniel Sams
AB de Villiers has been RCB's mainstay alongside skipper Kohli and has arguably been their biggest match-winner. Walking in at 3 might be the way to get the best out of him, as evident from the 2016 season.
New signing Glenn Maxwell should be used as a floater in the middle order, who can bat at 3, 4 or 5 depending on the situation. His handy off-spin is something that makes him an even more valuable asset. RCB will hope Maxwell can finally set the stage on fire in the IPL.
Dan Christian, with the experience he brings in, both as a finisher as well as a death overs bowler, will be handed the key responsibility of closing out games, both with the bat and the ball.
Having been traded in from Delhi Capitals, Daniel Sams will miss the first match, and maybe more, as he recently contracted Covid-19. But in the long run, RCB will hope he picks up wickets at regular intervals and be accurate at the death.
With death bowling being their biggest concern, Sams, along with Christian and Saini, will be tasked with the responsibility of converting their weakness to strength. Sams also has the ability to go big with the bat and hence will add depth to the lineup.
Probable Playing XI: Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, AB de Villiers, Sachin Baby, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian, Daniel Sams, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj
#2 Finn Allen, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson
RCB can look to go batting heavy at times and add destructive Kiwi opener, Finn Allen, to the XI. To provide balance, they can then pick a specialist bowler in Kane Richardson.
Allen was brought in as a replacement for Josh Philippe. He was in stupendous form in New Zealand's Super Smash 2020-21 tournament, scoring 512 runs at a strike-rate of 193.93 to finish as the top run-getter. RCB didn't score quickly in the powerplays last season and Allen will be the perfect guy to give them a blistering start.
Kane Richardson was the lone overseas pacer to be retained by RCB. On pitches offering pace and bounce, Richardson is RCB's best bet.
Probable Playing XI: Finn Allen, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Washington Sundar, Kyle Jamieson, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj
#1 AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian, Kyle Jamieson
Aussie all-rounder Daniel Sams tested positive for Covid-19 and will most likely not be available for the first couple of games. Team management are expected to get in new signing Kyle Jamieson for the Australian.
Jamieson pips Richardson as a replacement for Sams because the New Zealand international can be a handy batsman in the lower order.
With this combination, RCB will have Christian, Sundar and Jamieson batting at 6,7 and 8. They will be tasked with the job of finishing the innings on a high. Virat Kohli will have enough bowling resources to choose from in that case
Probable Playing XI: Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, AB de Villiers, Sachin Baby, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian, Kyle Jamieson, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj