Skipper Kohli’s RCB hope to end title drought in UAE


Hyderabad: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are one of the glamourous teams in the Indian Premier League. Despite having abundant talent in their ranks over the years, they failed to win the trophy even once in the 12-year-history of the tournament.

The likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have not done their reputation any good as they have failed to translate into results. The Indian team captain has graduated from a chubby youngster to one of the greats of the modern day game at this franchise. But the void is getting deeper and deeper every year.

The Bengaluru outfit came close to winning the cup thrice before falling at the final hurdle. They reached the finals in 2009, 2011 and 2016. They fell flat losing to now-defunct Deccan Chargers at the first time and then to Chennai Super Kings the second time. Four years ago, when they reached the summit clash, they were up against Sunrisers Hyderabad. In fact, 2016 is the season where Kohli rewrote history with his batting. He scored close to 1,000 runs (973) with four centuries and seven half-centuries and was in the form of his life. The fans were over the moon hoping that their bad days have come to end. But the lady luck didn’t smile at them.

This season provides another great opportunity. Their batting is one of the most formidable ones in the fray. They have roped in Australia’s white ball captain Aaron Finch for Rs 4.4 crore to strengthen the top order. He will form a good combination with Parthiv Patel as opener. With Kohli, Mr 360 AB de Villiers and with the presence of all-rounders like Shiva Dube, Moeen Ali and Chris Morris, they have good options in the middle. The duo of Kohli and ABD have five 200-run partnerships in IPL, the most so far.

They have spent a hefty price of Rs 10 crore for South African all-rounder Chris Morris, making him the third highest paid player in the auctions, to provide balance to the team. However, it was the bowling unit that proved to be their nemesis. It always disappointed when the situation demanded it. The lack of a leader to guide them is the major drawback. They have spent Rs 2 cr for veteran pacer Dale Steyn who is past his prime long ago and how much of fire he has in his tank is to be seen. Yuzvendra Chahal has been Kohli’s go-man in spin. With Washington Sundar and Adam Zampa, who was drafted into the side at the last minute in place of fast bowler Kane Richardson, provides variety in the spin department. Local pacers Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini have been in the side but they are yet to make a major impact. Given the slow nature of the pitches in UAE, the spinners could play a major role in this 13th edition.

More than for anyone, Kohli wants to win the cup for his loyal fans who have been chanting ‘Ee sala Cup namde’ (This time, the cup is ours) ever since.


Domestic: Virat Kohli, Gurkeerat Mann, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Pawan Negi, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Pavan Deshpande, Parthiv Patel, Shahbaz Ahamad

Foreign: AB de Villiers, Aaron Finch, Adam Zampa, Dale Steyn, Isuru Udana, Moeen Ali, Chris Morris, Joshua Philippe

Key Players: Virat Kohil, AB de Villiers, Moeen Ali

Coach: Simon Katich

Previous performances

2008: 7th place

2009: Runners-up

2010: Semifinalists

2011: Runners-up

2012: 5th place

2013: 5th place

2014: 7th place

2015: 3rd place

2016: Runners-up

2017: 8th place

2018: 6th place

2019: 8th place

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