IPL 2021 Preview: Ee sala Cup Namde for RCB?

The enthusiasm amongst Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) never fades away despite yearly disappointing performances from their team. The anthem of optimism- Ee Sala Cup Namde (This year we will win a trophy) continues to be the best part of RCB while building toward IPL 2021. It is very similar to Liverpool fans’ slogan “This is our year” for 30 odd seasons before winning the Premier League in 2020.

Within the first five league games, there is a strong indication that ultimately this will not be our year and the cup will not come to Bangalore. All is not doom and gloom for RCB as they showed signs of progress last season. They started the campaign strongly by winning seven out of the first ten league games. However, there was a timid end to the league campaign. Virat Kohli’s men got over the line due to a better net run-rate than Kolkata Knight Riders. This was the first instance since 2016 when RCB qualified for playoffs.

RCB was eventually knocked out by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator. Despite showing great improvement last year, RCB still has a long way to go in terms of winning the tournament. IPL 2021 presents a good opportunity for this team to take the next step and reach the final of the tournament.

What did RCB do in IPL 2021 auction?

Before IPL 2021 auction, RCB traded Harshal Patel and Daniel Sams from Delhi Capitals. RCB also decided to part ways with Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, and Moeen Ali. Isuru Udana, Dale Steyn, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Pawan Negi, and Gurkeerat Mann were also released by the franchise.

It was a strange decision by RCB to release Morris. The South African all-rounder was terrific in the death overs for the team. The franchise thought about getting him back at a cheaper fee as they made a bid for him in the auction. However, Rajasthan Royals trumped them to pay the IPL record fee for Morris.

RCB often make mistakes in the auction and IPL 2021 auction was no different. They have taken an expensive punt worth Rs 14.25 crores on Glenn Maxwell. The Australian all-rounder has been poor in IPL for a few seasons now. RCB also forked out Rs 15 crores for Kiwi fast bowler Kyle Jamieson and Rs 4.80 crores for Dan Christian. The Indian players signed by RCB were impressive as they picked up Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Suyash Prabhudesai, and KS Bharat for base prices of Rs 20 lakhs. RCB also had to bring in Finn Allen after the auction since Josh Philippe withdrew his name from IPL 2021 due to personal reasons.

Royal Challengers Bangalore Squad: Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Finn Allen, Pavan Deshpande, Shahbaz Ahamad, Adam Zampa, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Harshal Patel, Kyle Jamieson, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Suyash Prabhudesai, KS Bharat

Young player to watch out

After a terrific debut campaign, IPL 2021 is time to go next level for Devdutt Padikkal. He accumulated truckloads of runs in Vijay Hazare Trophy with an impressive strike rate. With the chance of opening the batting again for RCB, Padikkal will be an important player for the team.

Since Virat Kohli is going to open along with him, Padikkal will have to be the aggressor in the powerplay. Considering his immaculate application of skill in domestic cricket, Padikkal is well equipped to play the attacking role. He was the top run-scorer for RCB last season. The youngster will be expected to kick on and score 600 runs in the tournament.

Expectations for RCB in IPL 2021

Fans of RCB will be expecting the IPL title this season after years of underachievement by the team. However, the current squad is not balanced as it should be to win the title. The batting department will rely on Padikkal, Kohli, and AB de Villiers. Maxwell could turn out to be a game-changer, but inconsistency has been the norm for him in IPL during the last five years.

Meanwhile, the bowling department lacks a death-overs specialist. Jamieson has been doing well for New Zealand, but bowling on batting-friendly pitches is going to be a big challenge for him. Another season of reaching the knockout round will be a sign of progress and consistency for this team.

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