Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have never won an IPL trophy, will be hunting for the prized silverware in the 15th edition of the tournament under the captaincy of Faf du Plessis. RCB have reached the final three times but have failed to cross the final line all three teams. Let’s look at what the best possible XI for the Bangalore based franchise can be.
Openers: Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis
In the absence of Devdutt Padikkal who was not brought back by the franchise in the auction, former captain Virat Kohli is likely to open the innings with current captain Faf du Plessis. The swashbuckling South African batsman and T20 globetrotter was bought by the franchise for a whopping Rs 7 crore in the February auction. He played a big role in both of CSK’s title wins in 2018 and 2021 and will now be raring to score runs for his new franchise.
All eyes, however, will be on Kohli, who has not been at his best in international cricket over the past few months. The former India captain comes into IPL 2022 on the back of a lean patch and will be hoping to hit form soon. Kohli is the highest run-scorer in the history of the IPL and it won’t be a surprise if the tournament helps him find form.
Middle-Order: Glenn Maxwell, Mahipal Lomror, and Dinesh Karthik
The RCB middle order will comprise Glenn Maxwell, Mahipal Lomror and veteran wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik. While all-rounder Maxwell is a champion T20 player, he is not available to play for the first one week of the tournament. Uncapped Lomror, who has been with the Rajasthan Royals in the past, is a little low on experience but is a fine batsman in domestic cricket who can construct a decently long innings. Karthik, however, was largely inconsistent during his stint with his former franchise KKR, and it will be interesting to see if he can do justice to the finisher’s role for RCB. But if there is one middle order batsman that the team can really bank upon, it is Maxwell.
All-rounders: Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, and Harshal Patel
RCB spent a hefty sum of money to acquire the services of Harshal Patel and Wanindu Hasaranga. Fast bowler Patel was the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2021, while Sri Lanka’s Hasaranga is currently one of the best all-rounders in the world in the shortest format of cricket. Shahbaz Ahmed, meanwhile, is a useful bowler and a capable lower middle order batsman. Uncapped Ahmed has been a part of RCB since 2020 and has been groomed well by Kohli.
Bowlers: Josh Hazlewood, Mohammed Siraj, and Karn Sharma
Apart from having Hasaranga, Ahmed and Patel as bowlers, RCB are likely to play three other frontline bowlers – Josh Hazlewood, Mohammed Siraj and Karn Sharma. Hazlewood will not be playing the first few games due to national duty, but once he returns, RCB’s pace bowling department will be lethal. Siraj, who was retained by the franchise ahead of the auction, needs little introduction, while Sharma has a fairly decent IPL record – 59 wickets in 67 matches.
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