T20 matches are won on winning the small moments. The role of impact players in T20 gains significance when they can snatch away the match from the opponents. Among the IPL Franchisees, the team with abundant wealth of impact players is undoubtedly the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Owned by the charismatic Vijay Mallya, the side has been among the successful ones of IPL, reaching the finals twice and semi finals once in four seasons. In the tumultuous period for the owners, an IPL win can boost the shares of the falling corporate to some extent.
Bangalore has been the bridesmaid of IPL. They have faltered at the last step twice in IPL and once in Champions League. Initially led by two legendary stalwarts from Karnataka, the side is now headed by the perennial fighter of Kiwi land in Daniel Vettori. If ever an injury had been a blessing, it is Dirk Nannes’ ahead of last season. They signed Gayle as a replacement and soon the Jamican set the tournament on fire. Now with Nannes back, Gayle had been signed by the side ahead of auctions. They added spin wizard Muralitharan this time with some useful domestic players.
Batting is the team’s forte. A look into the possible top four will send shivers down the spine of the opponents. Gayle, Dilshan, Kohli and AB De Villers can all win matches single handed throwing the bowlers out of the park. God spare the poor opponents when they bat together. Gayle will be the key force with a point to prove for him yet again. He is likely to be fit for their opening game. Dilshan and Kohli are back with some terrific innings Down Under and AB De Villers is among the Legends in making. Indian flavour is added by unorthodox Saurabh Tiwary and Mayank Agarwal. Kaif and Pujara are guys to hold the forte in case a collapse occurs. Arun Karthik, Rossou, Pomersbach, Harshal Patel, Asad Pathan, Murali Gautham all add to already bloated batting front.
Allrounders of the side include a list of utility players. Vettori is a dual player of high quality. Both the openers, Gayle and Dilshan can bowl spin the ball well. Asad Pathan and Ryan Ninnan are bowlers who can slog. McDonald the recogonised allrounder may not be needed at all. Behind the stumps AB Devillers is likely to fill. He is a quality one without, doubt. Incase they need a regular keeper, local boy Gautham can do the job. Arun Karthik may don the gloves too.
Spin attack will be led by Vettori. He is one of the most economical bowler in limited over cricket. World’s highest wicket take Muralitharan;s wizardy needs no introduction. But the biggest challenge would be accommodating Murali since Gayle, Dilshan, AB and Vettori are certain starters in the XI. In such a case, fellow Srilankan must be sacrificed for Murali. Local boys like Zol, Syed Mohammed, Ninnan, Asad Pathan add to the variety. Not to forget Dilshan and Gayle.
Pace attack will be led by India’s finest one, Zaheer Khan. He will be assisted with a local attack of Vinay Kumar, Mithun and Aravind. Vinay’s form off late will hearten the management. Foriegn recruits include out and out T20 specialist Nannes and veteran Langeveldt. Nannes can be a big weapon if he gets to play. But an Indian attack will suffice. Easily among the best bowling line ups in IPL.
Along with a good bowling attack, Royal Challengers boost of the terrorizing Top Four. If one of them clicks, the match will be in pocket in matter of minutes. Gayle, Dilshan, Kohli and De Villers can all send the ball packing out of the stadium against any kind of bowlers. The bench strength is exuberant. Vettori’s captaincy has to be attacking given such a terrific side. Mild natured Kiwi is known for his defensive placements and that could hamper the potential champion side. The choice of captaincy could have been altered. Candidates are more in former skippers Gayle and Dilshan, current one in De Villers and a future in Kohli. Making one of them the captain could have eased the pressure on Vettori and allow them to play Murali in the side without separating the Top four. AB seems the ideal candidate. In the final analysis, with the best top order and quality bowling, expect them in knock outs. The trophy may not be elusive this time for the in-form “Terrors at the Top”.
Best XI : Chris Gayle – Tillekaratne Dilshan – Virat Kohli - AB De Villers – Chateshwar Pujara – Mayank Agarwal - Saurabh Tiwary – Daniel Vettori – Vinay Kumar – Zaheer Khan – Sreenath Aravind.