Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has always been packed with star power and backed by a loyal fan base. But the ultimate prize an IPL trophy has proven to be frustratingly elusive.
In seasons past, the side has been dragged down by a few recurring failings an overdependence on Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers, and a dearth of death bowlers and middle-order finishers.
In the December player auction, the franchise did not do enough to address these issues. While the marauding Aaron Finch and in-form Devdutt Padikkal add substance to the top-order, the list of finishers led by Chris Morris, Moeen Ali and Shivam Dube lacks that explosive quality.
The RCB arsenal is missing the devastating detonation provided by the likes of Andre Russell, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard, all of whom can consistently win matches from tight situations.
The death bowling responsibility falls on pacer Navdeep Saini, who has great control over yorkers and bouncers. Saini, however, lacks support. Dale Steyn, on a comeback trail at 37, is effective with the new ball but leaks runs towards the end of the innings. Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj do not inspire confidence at the death, as, in seasons past, they have not shown the required temperament and skill in the face of heavy fire.
Wiry Sri Lankan left-arm seamer Isuru Udana, with his clever mix of slower deliveries, could be called in to keep the late runs in check.
The middle overs, with dependable leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in action, does not pose much concern.
With pitches subject to wear and tear as the season rolls on, the spin contingent consisting of Chahal, leg-spinner Adam Zampa, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed and offies Washington Sundar and Moeen will play a big role.
RCB must shun the old unreliable formula of banking on star players Kohli and de Villiers to conjure up victories. It is time for new match-winners to step up and be counted.