The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) aren't exactly one of the favourites for the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), but they could easily be one of the surprise packages of the season.
Fresh off their first playoff appearance in 4 years, Virat Kohli's men made a number of high-profile acquisitions in the 2021 IPL auction. And RCB seem to be a much more well-rounded unit when compared to last year, although they lost a star performer in Chris Morris to the Rajasthan Royals.
RCB's wait for an IPL trophy has been long and painful, but a maiden title could be on the horizon. Here are 3 reasons why the three-time finalists could go all the way in IPL 2021.
#3 RCB's overseas contingent is filled with superstars
The eight overseas slots in the RCB squad are filled by superstars, despite the withdrawal of Australian wicket-keeper Josh Philippe.
Nothing needs to be said about AB de Villiers. And despite his indifferent IPL record, Glenn Maxwell is an outright match-winner on his day. Young Finn Allen has shown a lot of promise in his short career so far, and cracked a 29-ball 71 for New Zealand recently.
In the all-rounders department, RCB have Kyle Jamieson, Daniel Christian and Daniel Sams.
Jamieson hasn't been in a rich vein of form, but his credentials as a quality all-rounder who can contribute in both departments shouldn't be questioned. He can also work well with Director of Cricket Operations Mike Hesson.
Sams, on the other hand, has been in eye-catching form for Australia in T20I cricket. Meanwhile, Christian has a truckload of experience and won a number of games for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League.
Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa round off the RCB overseas contingent. While both bowlers aren't expected to be part of the first-choice playing XI, they are more than adequate backups to have on the bench.
#2 RCB have a solid core
RCB have made a number of changes to their roster ahead of IPL 2021, but their core has remained the same over the last few seasons and was one of the biggest reasons behind them making the playoffs in the previous campaign.
The batting spine of Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers is rock-solid. Indian spinners Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal have performed extremely well whenever called upon, and pacers Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj are in and around the national team in all three formats.
This strong core will hold RCB in good stead in IPL 2021. They have a number of proven, trusted professionals to turn to - players who have a keen understanding of the methods of the franchise and fit in seamlessly with the culture.
These players will go a long way in helping RCB to their first-ever IPL title.
#1 RCB have a strong top order
The aforementioned batting spine is largely limited to the top order, which is right up there with the best in the league.
Devdutt Padikkal has reportedly recovered from COVID-19 and will be available for RCB's season opener against the Mumbai Indians on April 9. The young southpaw finished as the team's leading run-scorer in IPL 2020, and has been in record-breaking form for Karnataka in recent domestic competitions.
Captain Kohli has claimed he'll open the batting for RCB in IPL 2021, and his record at the top of the order - as we all know - is nothing short of spectacular. With dynamic batsmen of the caliber of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers to follow, RCB have all bases covered in the top order.
If these 4 batsmen, along with Sundar, Christian and Azharuddeen, can fire on a regular basis, there's no reason why RCB can't break their IPL trophy drought this year.