HOME GROUND: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
CAPTAIN: Virat Kohli
COACH: Daniel Vettori
IPL 2016 RESULT: Runners up
BEST RESULT: Runners up in 2009, 2011, 2016
RELEASED: Chris Jordan, Parvez Rasool, Vikas Tokas, A Karnewar, P Dubey, V Malik, Kane Richardson, David Wiese, Abu Nechim, Varun Aaron.
PURCHASED: Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Aniket Chowdhary, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore happen to be one of the most glamorous team in the Indian Premier League right from the first season, often buying big players and breaking records at the IPL auction. This year, they decided to keep it simple - releasing 10 players, purchasing only 5 at the IPL 2017 Auction and maintaining 24 players in their squad.
The team has entered the IPL final on three different occasions - 2009, 2011 and 2016 but they are yet to lift the coveted trophy. When they step onto the field right from their first game - Sunrisers Hyderabad v Royal Challengers Bangalore on 5th April, they will be hungry to win, led by a captain Virat Kohli who knows nothing but playing hard and winning matches.
The team scored 2613 runs last season, almost 500 runs more than the second best team. With the likes of Kohli, de Villiers and Gayle in their squad, it's understandable how they managed to do so. Let's not forget that they also have Shane Watson in their squad who scored just 179 runs last season but picked up 20 crucial wickets and looking at his current form with the bat in the BBL and PSL, his bowling contributions are what will count in IPL 2017!
Mitchell Starc parted ways with RCB just a day before the IPL 2017 Auction so they had a bit of extra money to buy an overseas bowler - Tymal Mills was purchased as his replacement, paying him a whopping Rs.12 crore. Will he prove to be worth this amount of money?
Royal Challengers Bangalore!
RCB was another team that began their season slowly last year and eded up needing 4 consecutive wins to make it to the playoffs. This year, they will want to win a few early so that they don't have to play catch up and they definitely have the quality players to do this. With Watson, Gayle and ABD almost certain starters, they have only one vacant spot for an overseas bowler.
They also purchased Billy Stanlake at base price of 30 lakh, but with Samuel Badree, Adam Milne and Mills for competition, I doubt Stanlake will even get a game. Mills should be their favourite to make the playing XI, but Badree will definitely be worth playing while they shouldn't ignore the pace Milne has to offer. If you ask me, Milne will have a season like he did in IPL 2016 - only one game.
With the bat, they have one extremely powerful weapon - Virat Kohli, and his stats from IPL 2016 say it all - 973 runs at an average of 81, with 4 centuries and 7 fifties. Over the last year, the man has developed and has scored 4 test double centuries. He has set a high benchmark for IPL 2017!
Like I said, Watson is not in the best of batting form but he will certainly not be dropped as he has a lot of experience to offer and will definitely be among the wickets; he has a habit of slowing down the pace of an innings by picking up wickets. Gayle is another person who isn't in great form and he could even be dropped if he doesn't perform in the first 4-5 games. Travis Head could be his replacement.
A lot of their bowling strength will come from Indian local talent. They have a certain Yuzvendra Chahal in their team and he was their top bowler last year - 21 wickets in 13 games. Since that season, he has also made his debut for India and broken T20 records recently, picking up 6/25 in a T20I against England.
Chahal will certainly be among the top wicket takers this year as well - along with 21 wickets in 2016, he had 23 wickets in the 2015 season of the Indian Premier League, missing out on the Purple Cap on both occasions. Will he get it in 2017?
Amidst all the talks of their star studded batting line up, let's not forget that RCB have a few local talented batsmen in that middle order - KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav are a regular part of the Indian team now, while Sarfaraz Khan and Sachin Baby showed last year that they can do a lot of big hitting as well, even though they are both very small in size. Expect an exciting season for RCB!
Royal Challengers Bangalore Squad for IPL 2017:
Virat Kohli (c), Sreenath Aravind, Avesh Khan, Samuel Badree, Stuart Binny, Yuzvendra Chahal, A Choudhary, AB de Villiers, P Dubey, Chris Gayle, Travis Head, Iqbal Abdulla, Kedar Jadhav, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Tymal Mills, Adam Milne, Pawan Negi, Harshal Patel, KL Rahul, Sachin Baby, Tabraiz Shamsi, Billy Stanlake, Shane Watson.