A starry team of perennial underperformers inexplicably still awaiting their first IPL title. That’ll be Royal Challengers Bangalore, then.
Coach: Gary Kirsten
Captain: Virat Kohli
Previous Best: Runner-up (2009, 2011, 2016)
VIVO IPL TEAM GUIDES
Why They’ll Win It
Virat Kohli. VIRAT KOHLI. Virat. Kohli. He’s the best batsman in the world, and they’ve also got Shimron Hetmyer who is everyone’s favourite batsman in the world while AB de Villiers is still an alien sent to earth by a benevolent yet demonstrably superior race to show what batting can and should be. Those three alone should be good for an IPL title or two, surely?
We’ve a sneaky feeling for Moeen Ali to have a decent tournament, South Africa keeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen might prove an un-Bangalore-like auction bargain at Rs 50 lakh, and there’s some middle-order oomph thanks to Marcus Stoinis and Colin de Grandhomme.
You’ve got to have a top-drawer wrist-spinner and RC have the advantage of boasting India’s best in their ranks in Yuzvendra Chahal, and he’s ably supported by quality finger-spin options in Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi and Moeen.
Umesh Yadav and a couple of experienced overseas heads in Tim Southee and Nathan Coulter-Nile make up a solid pace attack.
Why They Won’t
Because they never, ever do. Better Bangalore squads than this have tried and failed.
The squad has quality in all departments, but not much depth. If they land on the right XI early doors and get lucky with injuries then it might just be to their benefit but there’s still the nagging doubt that this is a classic RC problem: plenty of sparkly star names, but not enough substance.
There’s a worrying lack of Indian depth to the squad – especially with the bat – with a preponderance of overseas all-rounders. There’s every chance that Bangalore go with just three specialist bats.
Kohli and de Villiers are going to have to score a shitload of runs. But they probably will. I dunno. This feels like a team equally likely to finish last or win the whole shooting match. Or finish fifth. Clear? No? Good.
Star Man – Virat Kohli:
Full squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Devdutt Padikkal, AB de Villiers (SA), Milind Kumar, Hinmat Singh, Shimron Hetmyer (WI), Parthiv Patel (wk), Heinrich Klaasen (SA, wk), Moeen Ali (Eng), Colin de Grandhomme (NZ), Marcus Stoinis (Aus), Prayas Ray Barman, Akshdeep Nath, Gurk Singh, Shiv Singh, Shiv Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Pawan Nagi, Kulwant Khejroliya, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Nathan Coulter-Nile (Aus), Mohammad Siraj, Tim Southee (NZ).
Saturday March 23
2000 IST/1430 GMT: Chennai Super Kings, MA Chidambaram Stadium Chennai
Thursday March 28
2000 IST/1430 GMT: Mumbai Indians, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Sunday March 31
1600 IST/1130 BST: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium Hyderabad
Tuesday April 2
2000 IST/1530 BST: Rajasthan Royals, Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
Friday April 5
2000 IST/1530 BST: Kolkata Knight Riders, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Sunday April 7
1600 IST/1130 BST: Delhi Capitals, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Saturday April 13
2000 IST/1530 BST: Kings XI Punjab, IS Bindra Stadium Mohali
Monday April 15
2000 IST/1530 BST: Mumbai Indians, Wankhede Stadium Mumbai
Friday April 19
2000 IST/1530 GMT: Kolkata Knight Riders, Eden Gardens Kolkata
Sunday April 21
2000 IST/1530 BST: Chennai Super Kings, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Wednesday April 24
2000 IST/1530 BST: Kings XI Punjab, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Sunday April 28
1600 IST/1130 BST: Delhi Capitals, Feroz Shah Kotla Delhi
Tuesday April 30
2000 IST/1530 BST: Rajasthan Royals, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore
Saturday May 4
2000 IST/1530 BST: Sunrisers Hyderabad, M Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore