IPL 2018: SWOT Analysis of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) squad
It is quite shocking that one of the most glamorous teams in the Indian Premier League, Royal Challengers Bangalore haven’t won a single IPL title till now. The RCB management decided against buying Chris Gayle in the auction and instead picked former Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum, who ironically smashed 158 runs against RCB at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Apart from the obvious retention of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, the franchise quite surprisingly decided to retain young Sarfaraz Khan.
The team also decided to bring in almost all the KKR bowlers who were responsible for dismissing Virat Kohli and his team for a lowly 49 runs last season. Having won almost every trophy in the last 2 years, Virat Kohli will be itching to win his maiden IPL title having faltered at the Final stage in 3 seasons. Former RCB player and Kiwi legend Daniel Vettori will continue as the coach after taking over the role in 2014.
Before we get into the SWOT analysis of Royal Challengers Bangalore, let’s have a look at their squad and playing 11 that should walk out for their opening league match against Kolkata Knight Riders on 8th April. Keep in mind we will be taking into account the last 5 seasons of IPL and performances in recent T20 leagues.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Complete IPL 2018 Squad:
Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Brendon McCullum, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Quinton De Kock, Mohammed Siraj, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, M. Ashwin, Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali, Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Pavan Deshpande, Aniruddha Ashok Joshi.
Probable Royal Challengers Bangalore Playing 11 for IPL 2018
Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Colin Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Washington Sundar
IPL SWOT Analysis: Royal Challengers Bangalore SWOT Analysis – Strengths
1). Virat Kohli’s current form
It would be fair to say that Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world right now. The Indian captain scored 2818 runs in international cricket in 2017 and finished the year 50 runs behind Sangakkara’s record of 2868 runs in 2014. However, we assume that the air of confidence around Virat Kohli started after his record-breaking 2016 IPL season where he scored an unbelievable 973 runs, with 4 hundreds and 7 fifties. The Indian captain will once again shoulder most of the run-scoring responsibility along with his trusted partner ABD. Kohli is currently the 2nd highest run-scorer in the history of IPL and is only 122 runs behind Suresh Raina, who has 4540 runs.
2). Either of the top 3 can win them matches single-handedly
Over the past few seasons RCB have adopted the strategy of making their side top-order heavy and nothing seems to have changed on that front for this season as well. The top 3 of Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers and top 4 if we include De Kock makes from a scary viewing for the bowlers running up to bowl to them. AB de Villiers in the 10th highest run-scorer in the league with 3473 runs at an astonishing average of 38.16, while new recruit Brendon McCullum has amassed 2754 runs at an average of 28.10 and a strike-rate of over 130. If these get going or either one of them has his day, we can expect thoroughly entertaining innings.
However, for a quick start this season they will have to rely mostly on Brendon McCullum, who has a strike-rate of 144 in the powerplay in the last 5 seasons of the league. The Kiwi batsman might not make a big score every innings, but he is definitely capable of giving the team an explosive start in those powerplay overs.
With McCullum giving the team a strong start, expect RCB team to finish the innings also on a high, after all, they have probably the two best finishers in the IPL over the past 5 seasons. Virat Kohli’s dot ball average in the final 5 overs of the innings is just 24%, while he smashes a boundary every 3.5 deliveries. AB de Villiers, on the other hand, is at the different level. The South African legend dot ball average in the same time-frame as Kohli’s is 22%, while he hits a boundary in every 2.75 deliveries.
3). A quality group of spinners in the team
The other big strength for RCB this season is the quality of spinners they have managed to get for the 11th season. Apart from 2017’s highest T20I wicket-taker Yuzvendra Chahal, the franchise also has the highly impressive Washington Sundar, who had a very good IPL 2017 as he picked up 8 wickets in 11 matches with an astonishing economy 6.16. Pawan Negi is also in the squad and will play as vital role as the squad player for the team. The 25-year-old spinner picked up 16 wickets last season at an economy rate of 6.12 and at a strike-rate of 12.06. With spin expected to play a big role in the upcoming season, RCB will definitely enter the season full of confidence especially with these 3 talented spinners in the squad and the young Murugan Ashwin to cover for them whenever the need arises.
IPL SWOT Analysis: Royal Challengers Bangalore SWOT Analysis – Weaknesses
1). No Middle Order
Like every season, RCB enter the Indian Premier League with a top-heavy side that has some of the world’s best T20 batsmen in the top 3. However, after Brendon McCullum, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, there is hardly a middle-order capable of matching the likes of the top 3. Sarfaraz Khan is a hugely talented youngster, who has shown his capabilities in the little time he has had with the Royal Challengers Bangalore but still, it was surprising to see RCB retaining him, given that he didn’t play a single match last season and has only scored 177 runs at an average of 29.50. Mandeep Singh, on the other hand, scores pretty quickly when he is in the centre but finds it difficult to play a longer inning that a middle-order batsman should be adapted to do. The team also has players like Manan Vohra, Parthiv Patel in the squad but it’s hard to see them making the playing 11 in the initial few matches.
2). No perfect finisher in the team except Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers
In captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, RCB has probably the two best finishers in the league. However, the problem starts after these two go back into the pavilion, the team hardly has any tried and tested finisher, who can strike boundaries at regular intervals and give the team those extra 20-30 runs that could be the difference between a win and a defeat. In Chris Woakes and Colin Grandhomme, RCB have two big-hitters, however, their performance from last year hardly instils confidence amongst the fans. Woakes played 13 matches last season but only scored 46 runs at a lowly average of 11.50 with an unimpressive strike-rate of 97.87.
Grandhomme on the other hand, played 12 matches last season but only scored 126 runs at an average of 15.75. Therefore it is clear that the balance in the playing 11 is definitely not right and the middle-order after AB de Villiers could prove to be the downfall of the team like the majority of the past seasons.
3). No Indian all-rounder
We are all aware of the importance of all-rounders in the T20 format and apart from RCB, almost all the other teams have a quality Indian all-rounder in their squad. In Woakes and Grandhomme, the team has two very good all-rounders but given that they are both foreigners, it will be pretty hard for the RCB management to shuffle their team around in order to find the perfect balance. Having an Indian all-rounder often gives a team a chance to make changes to their playing 11 without disturbing the balance too much but with RCB, the lack of Indian all-rounder could eventually turn into a huge problem for the team.
4). Only 6 bowlers in the starting 11
One look at the RCB playing 11 and you notice that the team has only 6 bowlers to choose from, which means that if 2 to 3 bowlers have a bad day at the office, Virat Kohli will struggle hugely to find a way to contain the opposition. Team’s like the Kings XI Punjab have a number of bowling options in their squad to choose from but RCB, unfortunately, don’t enjoy the same freedom mainly because of the need to keep at least 2 foreign batsmen in the starting 11. Bringing in another strike-bowler like Moeen Ali or Tim Southee will definitely help strengthen the bowling unit but will the team struggling for balance between bat and ball.
IPL SWOT Analysis: Royal Challengers Bangalore SWOT Analysis – Opportunities
1). Washington Sundar
Not many people would be aware but off-spinner Washington Sundar is just 18 years old and has already managed to make quite a name for himself in the limited opportunities he has got with the Indian national team. The right-arm off-spinner finished as the joint highest-wicket taker in the recently concluded Nidahas Trophy with 8 wickets at a phenomenal economy 5.70. Which is why the upcoming IPL season 11 will be a perfect chance for him to push further into the Indian national team set-up and dislodge either his RCB team-mate Yuzvendra Chahal or KKR spinner Kuldeep Yadav, both of whom have done exceedingly well for the team over the past one year. A lot of players have seen their international career blossom after a successful IPL season, hence it is a very big opportunity for Sundar to enter the thought process of the selectors with some good consistent performances.
2). Mandeep Singh
Another player who will be vying for a spot in the Indian team following the conclusion of IPL is Mandeep Singh, who after making three T20I appearances for India seems to have completely disappeared from the selector’s mind. The right-handed batsman has done well in the IPL in patches but has never been able to perform on a consistent basis, something that is a must for any player vying to wear the Indian jersey on a permanent basis. Unlike Sundar, Mandeep will be turning 27 at the end of the year, and the time for him to become a permanent part of the Indian set-up is fast running out. However, the good thing for him is that he will be an integral part of the RCB starting 11 this season, which should give him ample opportunities to make a serious case for his selection in the Indian team and even put his name in the hat for the 2019 World Cup.
In his 70 IPL matches till date, Mandeep has managed to score 1112 runs at an average of just 20.21. For him to make it to the Indian team, he will need to significantly improve that average in the upcoming tournament, otherwise, his dream to play for India could end before it even properly began.
3). First IPL Title
It is inconceivable that a powerhouse team like RCB haven’t managed to win a single IPL trophy till now. Having lost 3 IPL Finals till now, Virat Kohli and his men will be desperate to give their fans the much-needed boost with an IPL title win. RCB have again packed their team with some of the best T20 players from the world and even though the balance might not look perfectly right, the team has enough players who are capable of winning the match on their own. In Virat Kohli, the team has an enigmatic leader who loves winning more than anything else and he himself will be aware that after 10 seasons for a team like RCB to not have won a single IPL championship is not a great reflection on his captaincy.
IPL SWOT Analysis: Royal Challengers Bangalore SWOT Analysis – Threats
1). No bowler to contain runs in the final overs of the inning
In Umesh Yadav, the RCB team have a genuine wicket-taker when it comes to death overs. Between overs 17th to 20th, the 30-year-old averages a wicket per 9 runs, however, a stat which might frighten some of the RCB fans is that he also leaks a lot of run in those death overs. In the final 4 overs of the innings, Umesh’s economy goes up to 10.75, something that Virat Kohli will be well aware of. Those extra 15-20 runs could make a huge difference in a 20 over game and for RCB to go into the break high on confidence they will need their bowlers to finish well otherwise all the good work done by the spinners in the middle-overs could for a toss and leave the team with no advantage whatsoever.
Apart from Umesh Yadav, the team doesn’t have an out and out death over specialists like a Jasprit Bumrah of Mumbai Indians or Bhuvneshwar Kumar of Sunrisers Hyderabad, which is why it will be interesting to see how Kohli manages his bowlers around in order to contain the opposition in those final 4 overs.
2). Spinners at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium
With RCB expected to go into every match with at least 2 spinners, the opposition batsmen might have a field day when it comes to batting at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium against spin. The RCB home ground is far smaller in comparison to the other ground being used in IPL and also has a notorious tendency to be particularly hard on the spinners, especially those like Yuzvendra Chahal, who prefer to toss the ball in the air in order to invite the batsman to go after them. Sometimes, giving the ball air could work in the bowler’s favour but in the T20 format, it could also work in favour of the batsman who is looking to clear the boundary line on each and every single delivery.
Over the years, the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium has seen some of the most destructive innings in the history of IPL. Whether it was Brendon McCullum’s 158 in the very first match of IPL or Chris Gayle’s record-shattering 175, the stadium has seen some brutal display of power hitting and with 2 spinners in the starting 11, except the opposition to focus particularly on breaking their rhythm and sending their deliveries sailing over the ropes on a constant basis.
WATCH: RCB’s farewell message for Chris Gayle, who will be playing KXIP in IPL 11
READ: RCB IPL Tickets 2018, Royal Challengers Bangalore Tickets on Ticketgenie, IPL Bangalore Tickets
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