IPL 2019: Can RCB emerge victorious this year?
RCB is a team that is known for its big hitters. However, in spite of having so many star batsmen in their team, they have failed to win the IPL so far.
In the last season of the IPL, they bought some young as well as experienced bowlers to address the biggest weakness in the squad. At first glance, it looked like they had finally found their best combination to go all the way. Unfortunately for them, however, they finished in the bottom half of the points table.
In the batting department, last year they had the firepower of Brendon McCullum and Quinton de Kock. But these two could not provide strong starts to the team, and consequently they were released ahead of the IPL 2019 auctions.
This year RCB have added the likes of Shimron Hetmyer, Heinrich Klaasen and Akshdeep Nath to their batting. Further, from the last season, they have proven performers in Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
In the middle and lower middle order, they already had Colin de Grandhomme, Moeen Ali, Pawan Negi and Washington Sundar. This season they have added Marcus Stoinis, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Shivam Dube.
Looking at the current form of the players and the team combination, it seems like the newcomers Nath and Dube will have to play a crucial role this season.
In the bowling unit, RCB have Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohammed Siraj, Tim Southee and Yuzvendra Chahal. Last season the bowling attack consistently performed better than the team's batting unit. Kohli will hope for more of the same from the bowlers this season.
The probable playing XI is likely to read like this: Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli, Akshdeep Nath, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee and Yuzvendra Chahal.
The strength of this team is that they bat deep - up to number 9 or 10. Moreover, Chahal also showed his batting skills in New Zealand, and could be expected to continue that run of good form in the IPL.
It will be important for RCB to find the right opening combination, in order to reduce the reliance on De Villiers in the middle order. They have to be sure, before their first game, what is likely to be their best opening pair.
Remember, if you start something well, the chances of ending it better increases. If RCB can figure out their ideal combination at the top of the order, and if the bowlers can continue their good work from last season, there's no reason why the team can't get their hands on the trophy.