Royal Challengers Bangalore - From Outsiders to Favourites
by Jinu Sabastian

Player:MV Boucher, RS Dravid, SP Goswami, V Kohli, P Kumar, A Kumble, A Mithun, EJG Morgan, MK Pandey, KP Pietersen, DW Steyn, LRPL Taylor, RV Uthappa, RE van der Merwe, R Vinay Kumar, CL White
Event:Indian Premier League 2009/10

DateLine: 10th March 2010


After the inaugural IPL auction most of the critics jeered the Vijay Mallaya owned Bangalore side as Test side. They were welted into submission by Brendon McCullum in the opening match of IPL 2008 and never recovered from that battering throughout the season. The Royal Challengers Bangalore or RCB as they are called very narrowly avoided the wooden spoon in the first edition and they were the but of endless jokes.


In the auction for IPL 2009 Vijay Mallaya splurged a substantial amount to acquire Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder to shore up their batting before trading Robin Uthappa to give more fire-power to the batting line-up. Mallaya then recruited the services of hard nosed Ray Jennings to get his wards charged up.


Rahul Dravid was relieved of the captaincy and it was handed to Kevin Pietersen. The fortunes simply did not change and once Pietersen left the scene Kumble was handed the reins of the side which was languishing at the near bottom. That was just the tonic that was needed for the side and in a trice they surged ahead. The side began to string in together some crucial victories turning tables on their opponents and finally entered the finals to face a resurgent Deccan Chargers. The Bangalore side could have being crowned the IPL champions of 2009 had not Kumble's men lost their nerve in the final dying minutes of the game.


As they RCB enter the third edition of IPL the side will be looking to be tagged as the champions. The journey from being rank outsiders to favourites to lift the championship is a stuff of fairytale. The batting for sure revolves around heavyweights Kallis and Dravid and they will look for support in the young brigade comprising of Robin Uthappa Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey. The foreign recruits comprising of innovative Eoin Morgan and hard-hitting Ross Taylor will for sure give nightmares to the opposition camp.


Keeper-batsman Mark Boucher can provide valuable runs lower down the order and his replacement Shreevats Goswami is another capable batsman. But of all the batsman, the player to watch out for is Cameron White. The Victorian skipper who is presently at his most destructive best has being tearing apart international bowling attack without breaking any sweat. Ask Pakistan, West Indies and more recently New Zealand who have being at the receiving end. The tall right-hander can clear the ropes with minimum effort and once the mood gets to him the opposition can simply pray for him to play a careless shot.


The bowling attack is a major worry for the RCB as it is led by veteran Kumble. Skipper Anil Kumble is coming after a long lay-off and it will be interesting to see how he gets back into match fitness. His spin partner will be the ever snarling Roelof van der Merwe. Dale Steyn is destructive with the red cherry in his hand but once the colour changes to white he seems to struggle for consistency. The Indian seamers Vinay Kumar, A Mithun and Praveen Kumar can rock the opposition camp with some excellent seam bowling and Kumble will for sure bank on their bowling during the course of the match.