Season after season, RCB fans await the start of the tournament with renewed vigor hoping their team will finally lift the Cup on finals day. They’re used to seeing no change to their fortunes since RCB fundamentally didn’t change much. This season though, there are some rudimentary changes that give this RCB team a very different look. Let’s try & dissect this squad for finer details.
RCB made it to the playoffs by finishing 3rd in the league stage. They lost the Eliminator to the resurgent Kolkata Knight Riders who eventually made it to the Finals.
2022 Season venues
RCB are set to play 4 matches each at DY Patil & Wankhede stadium, 3 matches each at MCA Pune & the Brabourne stadium.
Virat Kohli had already announced during the 2021 season, his decision to relinquish captaincy. The other major change revealed much later was the retirement of AB de Villiers. Although some say it was on expected lines, AB de Villiers’ IPL career is synonymous with RCB.
Ultimately Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell & Mohammad Siraj were retained by RCB. They let go of their premier spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, upcoming opener Devdutt Padikkal and 2021 Purple Cap winner Harshal Patel among others.
Strengths: Replacing Virat Kohli as captain while he’s still playing was a challenge going into the auction. RCB couldn’t have picked a better player/personality than Faf du Plessis. He’s a senior pro, available for the entire season and someone who commands respect. They’ve also made some smart buys with respect to established Indian talents in Anuj Rawat and Mahipal Lomror, the latter specifically to partner Glenn Maxwell in the middle overs to take on the spinners. All the 8 overseas players are in essence a replacement for one another, so the balance of the team can continue if someone is to miss out.
Issues: Another challenge going into the auction was replacing AB de Villiers. RCB have entrusted the experienced Dinesh Karthik to plug this massive void. Dinesh Karthik has the reputation but his recent numbers don’t inspire much confidence. Sherfane Rutherford is the overseas option for this role but he’s also untested at the IPL. Another major issue with the squad is that there is no other off-spinner apart from Glenn Maxwell, who’ll miss the first 2 games. RCB has 2 leggies, 3 slow left-arm bowlers. Left-heavy teams could cause problems swinging their blades with the ball spinning into them.
Watch out for
Anuj Rawat is an upcoming talent and is widely regarded as a solid top-order batter in the domestic circuit. He’ll be the first choice to start off but will face competition from his like-for-like replacement Luvnith Sisodia, who’s also a left-handed, hard-hitting opener and a safe wicketkeeper.
Those who follow domestic cricket regularly will know the resurgence of Bengal in recent years. Their pace attack is led by Ishan Porel and Akash Deep. RCB may have good fast bowling stocks but Akash Deep is an exciting death bowling prospect and will get his chances in the absence of Josh Hazlewood and Jason Behrendorff for the first few games.
Likely playing XI
All players available:
Faf du Plessis (c), Anuj Rawat, Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mahipal Lomror, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Shahbaz Ahmed, Md Siraj, Josh Hazlewood
Faf du Plessis (c), Anuj Rawat, Virat Kohli, Sherfane Rutherford, Mahipal Lomror, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Wanindu Hasaranga, David Willey, Harshal Patel, Shahbaz Ahmed, Md, Siraj, Akash Deep
RCB’s fortunes hinge majorly on 4 big-money players having a good run in the tournament. They’ll look forward to Faf du Plessis to give consistent starts, Kohli to hold the middle order, Hasaranga to pick wickets in the middle overs and Harshal to close out games with the ball at the death. If these players turn up, the players around are good enough to carry them to the playoffs.