The Royal Challengers should have won the Indian Premier League by now. The perennial underachievers tend to blow boiling hot or ice cold. With the list of major star players they have had at their disposal they have often embarked on tournaments as the bookies’ favourites. As fifth favourites this time it should make them of exceptional interest to punters this time around.
Three times the bridesmaids but never the bride, is this the year it is 13th time lucky?
RCB IPL 2020 Squad
HEAD COACH: Simon Katich – level-headed Aussie.
CAPTAIN: Virat Kohli
The current India captain has one of the most glittering CVs in the game. Kohli has achieved most things and is the best batsman in the world if judged across all three formats. But he has never won an IPL or led his side to the trophy and that is something he will desperately want to put right as soon as possible.
The lack of an IPL on his captaincy CV is becoming an obvious gap in his mighty achievements. With Katich in as head coach, Kohli will have a calming influence and the combination could gel well.
AB de Villiers, Chris Morris and Dale Steyn (South Africa), Moeen Ali (England), Aaron Finch, Adam Zampa and Joshua Phillippe (Australia), Isura Udana (Sri Lanka)
Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Parthiv Patel, Pawan Negi, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Isuru Udana, Pavan Deshpande, Shahbaz Ahamad.
Finalists in 2009, 2011 and 2016 they have never touched the IPL trophy in 12 previous attempts. Eighth in 2019 and 2017 and sixth in the year between there is obvious room for improvement.
The Challengers have always had explosive batting power. This season they appear to have increased bowling strength and look far more balanced a unit. With the canny Mike Hesson as team director and the level-headed Simon Katich balancing the more emotional Kohli, things look positive.
Can Royal Challengers win the IPL?
REASONS TO BELIEVE
- VIRAT KOHLI
This preview will not all be about Kohli, yet he is such a pivotal figure in Bangalore’s chances. Away from the captaincy, he is the highest ever scorer in IPL history and there will be nobody more driven to succeed than Virat. A truly phenomenal player, if Kohli fires in the UAE then Bangalore are well on the way.
- THE TOP ORDER
Aaron Finch is a new addition for RCB and combines with Kohli, AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali at the top of Bangalore’s batting. That is top quality and should ensure some speedy starts through the powerplays and beyond. Finch is a great addition and decent betting value to score the most runs for RCB this season. Devdutt Padikkal (20) could be the surprise package. The 20-year-old left-hander was the top scorer in the Syed Mushtaq Ali 2019/20 and Kohli is keen to throw him in.
- STEYN and MORRIS STRENGTHEN THE BOWLING
Kohli made sure team director Mike Hesson had veteran South African fast bowler Dale Steyn towards the top of his shopping list at the last auction. Add in his countryman Chris Morris, who can also belt runs in the middle-order, then RCB has recruited well. The tournament’s move to the UAE could be a huge advantage to the bowlers.
The Challengers have got used to playing their home games on the high scoring M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. It’s produced big scores but been tough for the bowlers. This season RCB appears to have a much more balanced side and could prosper in the field in the UAE.
Virat is often a reactive skipper. He can be inspirational as he wears his heart of his sleeve and leads with emotion, but he has developed into a captain that listens. With Aussie captain, Finch added to the brains trust and AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali involved too they are in safer hands on the park.
- GREAT SPIN OPTIONS
RCB have two high-quality leg-spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Adam Zampa. Add in the off-spin from Washington Sundar and Moeen and they have one of the best spin attacks in IPL 2020. They just need to pick their XI wisely as there are almost too many options.
REASONS TO LAY RCB?
- VIRAT KOHLI
Are you winning the sweepstake for Kohli mentions? And that is the point – RCB are almost Team Kohli. That puts pressure on him if it is that is possible. It is what it is because he is such a great player, but it isn’t healthy.
- PREVIOUS SCARS
It’s easy to say that RCB look strong as they enter the 2020 tournament, but we’ve always said that, and they have never picked up the trophy. Those previous disappointments add pressure each year to break the hoodoo.
CHANCES OF THEM WINNING THE TITLE
I asked three IPL expert pundits to give each of the eight franchises a score out of 10 to reflect their likelihood of winning IPL 2020.
RCB scored 75% (2nd equal of the 8 teams)
RECOMMENDED BETTING MARKETS
- 10 units on Royal Challengers Bangalore to Finish Bottom @ 7/1 with Boyle Sports
- 20 units on Royal Challengers Bangalore to reach the playoffs @ EVS with Betfair
- 10 units on Aaron Finch to be Top Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman @ 6/1 with Betfair
You can see all our IPL betting previews on our Cricket tips blog here.