Royal Challengers Bangalore will be bidding to finally end their 15-year title drought in IPL 2023
After a gap of three years, the M, Chinnaswamy Stadium will witness the home team Royal Challengers Bangalore taking the field. With the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League, the tournament is returning to home and away format and thus, the Men in Red and Gold will kick-start their campaign with a battle against the Mumbai Indians in Bengaluru on Sunday, 2nd April.
Not much has changed for the Royal Challengers Bangalore since the 2022 edition. The South African veteran Faf du Plessis will continue to lead the side while the team has also retained most of its players. The much-hyped franchise forms a part of Group B in the tournament alongside Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Gujarat Titans, and Punjab Kings.
It is no secret that RCB forms a part of the four unfortunate teams who are yet to hold the illustrious T20 trophy. The other three teams apart from the Challengers in the list include Delhi Capitals, Punjab Kings, and Lucknow Super Giants.
Thus, coming into the 2023 season, the team will have the big responsibility of winning their maiden title. The fans’ expectations have significantly increased as RCB has been reaching the playoffs for the last three seasons.
A look at last season’s performance
Royal Challengers Bangalore will enter the 2023 season with high spirits and renewed hope as they did well last year under the leadership of new skipper Faf du Plessis. The South African veteran had a good time leading an IPL franchise for the first time as RCB reached the playoffs.
The journey to the top four was filled with ups and downs as the team struggled with consistency in the second half of the T20 extravaganza. They scored a victory in eight league games while losing six matches to occupy fourth place in the points table at the end of the group stage.
The Challengers continued their excellent performance in the Eliminator game against Lucknow Super Giants by recording a win by 14 runs. However, their campaign came to an end after losing to Rajasthan Royals in the second Qualifier by seven wickets.
New signings ahead of the 2023 IPL season
Royal Challengers Bangalore entered the IPL 2023 mini-auction with a purse of only INR 8.75 crores and a total of seven slots to fill. Understandably, the team did not have the capacity to spend a handsome amount of money to acquire the services of big players that went under the hammer during the event.
However, RCB did manage to bring Will Jacks into the team by shelling out INR 3.2 crores. Reece Topley was another significant overseas signing for the team at a price of INR 1.9 crores. The other players bought by the team include the likes of Manoj Bhandage, Rajan Kumar, Avinash Singh, and Sonu Yadav.
Meanwhile, even before the beginning of the Indian Premier League 2023, the Faf du Plessis-led side has been plagued with injury concerns. Their biggest overseas signing, Will Jacks, has been ruled out of the tournament after succumbing to a series injury during the England tour of Bangladesh. New Zealand’s spin bowler Michael Bracewell has replaced the English star in the celebrated franchise.
Predicted Starting XI
Faf Du Plessis ©, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, Mahipal Lomror, Shahbaz Ahmed, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood
Virat Kohli’s return to form can be considered one of the biggest positives for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. For the past three seasons, the top-order batter failed to consistently score runs, and it hampered the team’s performance. However, he is coming into the Indian Premier League 2023 after being the top run-scorer for India in both the Asia Cup 2022 and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. Virat’s good form with the bat would ensure a smooth journey for the team in the competition.
RCB will be playing seven games at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, which is known for having shorter boundaries and offering flat pitches. This will be a huge advantage for the side as they have a good batting unit with the likes of Kohli, Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, and Dinesh Karthik.
The team also boasts of good batting depth as Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, and Shahbaz Ahmed form the lower-middle batting order of the celebrated side. Meanwhile, the Challengers have also built a solid pace unit. Their pace unit has some star players like Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood, Harshal Patel, and Reece Topley.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore lacks a good power-hitter at the top. Both Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis are known for taking some time to get settled in the middle before scoring big. One of the two players needs to bring a change in their batting technique as playing slow at the beginning can increase the pressure on the middle-order batters.
Also, RCB does not have a solid Indian middle-order batter who can play the role of an anchor. In the last season, Dinesh Karthik did the job for the team, but there are major concerns surrounding his batting form. If Karthik failed to replicate his heroics from the last season, then the entire responsibility of middle-order will fall on the shoulders of Maxwell. In such a case, Kohli will have to play the role of anchor and prolong his stay in the middle.
Meanwhile, the team does not have a solid spinner who has experience playing at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. In the past years, Yuzvendra Chahal beautifully carried out the responsibility, but he is no longer there with the team. Though RCB has Wanindu Hasaranga, he is yet to prove his mettle on the home ground in Bengaluru.
All being said, Royal Challengers Bangalore has picked a good squad for IPL 2023 with a decent mix of batters, all-rounders, spinners, and seamers. The team has all bases covered and boasts of having a handful of superstars, including Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell, and Mohammed Siraj.
They are expected to do well in the 2023 season and their chances of reaching the top four of the tournament are high.