Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are entering the twelfth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the first game of the year against the three-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Saturday, 23rd March 2019. However, the burden on their shoulders is a lot heavier as compared to their opponent.
Having never won the title ever since the team's inception in 2008, the expectations and hopes of the people of Bangalore with regards to hosting the prestigious IPL trophy one day, are brutally crushing the team owners and the star-studded player line-up.
Despite probably having the best coaching staff in the league and being captained by some of the greatest cricketers in the past, RCB have failed to seal the deal and their supporters are losing their cool.
Having said that, after spending an amount as big as Rs. 16.35 crores at the 2018 IPL auction and retaining their best lot, the roster looks amazing.
Here are the five key RCB players whom people should watch out for this IPL season:
1. Virat KohliView this post on Instagram
A post shared by Royal Challengers Bangalore (@royalchallengersbangalore) on Feb 15, 2019 at 6:43am PST
Let's not spend too much time on the obvious. Virat Kohli, who is the captain of RCB and that of the Indian national cricket team, has to have an impact during this IPL season if he wishes to continue with the team as its skipper. Even though 2018 was his year and he won all the major individual awards put up by the International Cricket Council (ICC), Kohli has earned a bad reputation for himself as the captain of an IPL team.
Having said that, Kohli is the second highest run-scorer in the entire league just behind CSK's Suresh Raina and became the first batsman to score 4000+ runs in the league during RCB's most successful season in 2016.
As talented and gifted as Kohli is, he can manage to get runs even in his sleep. What is to be yet seen is how the King uses the supporting cast around him to take his team to the top.
2. AB de VilliersView this post on Instagram
#TB to when @abdevilliers17's brilliance propelled us to a victory against Delhi Daredevils! #ThrowBackThursday #TBT #PlayBold #Repost @royalchallengersbangalore • • • • • If not for the roof, this would have landed in Cubbon Park. #PlayBold
A post shared by Royal Challengers Bangalore (@royalchallengersbangalore) on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:35am PDT
De Villiers was RCB's main man before Virat Kohli took the throne. The South African's furious batting style combined with years and years of experience as the captain of one of the leading teams of the cricketing world, made him an ideal piece of the puzzle that the team's road to title victory really is.
Even though Mr. 360° is not the dynamic hitter he once used to be, he still possesses a lot of command over his bat and is very much capable of bringing home wins against many of the franchises from this season's matchups.
3. Yuzvendra ChahalView this post on Instagram
A post shared by Royal Challengers Bangalore (@royalchallengersbangalore) on Mar 10, 2019 at 9:51pm PDT
Yuzi Chahal has grown as a cricketer by leaps and bounds in the past couple of years. Putting in hours of practice in his craft has earned him a high chair in the Indian cricket team as he looks to represent his nation in the upcoming World Cup.
Being Bangalore's leading wicket-taker, Chahal has earned immense respect and trust in the eyes of the team management that retained the leggy for his sixth season in red and gold.
While bowlers like Mohammed Siraj and Washington Sundar will be at Kohli's disposal, the captain will turn to Chahal in the hour of need and demand of him the ability to break partnerships.
4. Marcus Stoinis
Skipper @imVkohli with our new joinee, @MStoinis. Maybe he wants him to save his best for the upcoming VIVO IPL when he dons the red and black at #Chinnaswamy! #PlayBold #AUSvIND https://t.co/VQXFLo3JxV— Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) November 22, 2018
Aussie Marcus Stoinis is probably one of those rare cricketers who are on the list of every fantasy cricket club owner. Having being named Australia's men's One-day International Player of the Year, the allrounder was a gem to look at as he hit big runs and scalped many wickets.
A reliable player in general with the capacity to score runs on cue, Stoinis will be expected to go out there and perform on the same level as he does for his national cricket team.
5. Shimron HetmyerDecember 18, 2018
Getting paid for absolutely dismantling the Men in Blue during the Windies' visit to India in October 2018, Hetmyer was signed up by the RCB for Rs. 4.20 crores as they outbid literally every other team present in that ballroom during the IPL auctions.
Known as a run-machine, this 22-year-old plays the sport like there is no tomorrow. Boasting a scary strike rate of 142.42, the lefty has scored 517 runs in the 21 T20 matches he has played so far.
If Hettie brings even a fraction of his game to RCB, his presence in the team will be a huge boost for Virat Kohli and the rest of the squad.