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RCB Preview: SWOT analysis of Royal Challengers Bengaluru ahead of IPL 2024

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) with a new name will be hoping for a change in fortunes in the IPL in the 2024 edition. The death bowling remains a concern for RCB not for the first time but their batting looks solid and the 2016 finalists will hope that their batting can do the magic.

Written By: Anshul Gupta @oyegupta_ New Delhi Published on: March 20, 2024 8:07 IST
Royal Challengers Bengaluru will be hoping to start well
Image Source : BCCI/IPL Royal Challengers Bengaluru will be hoping to start well and their first aim will be to qualify for the playoffs and then go for bigger targets

16 seasons, 241 matches and three finale appearances later, here we are asking the same damn question, will this be Royal Challengers Bangalore... aah my mistake, Royal Challengers Bengaluru's year? The old name didn't yield a trophy for a better part of two decades, but at least the franchise will be content that the reign got over with the trophy drought ending. If not men, the women did it, only in their second year... but for men, the question remains, will that elusive trophy be RCB's finally in IPL 2024?

The answer to this decade-and-a-half-old question isn't that simple and RCB will themselves be aware of the same, especially when they didn't qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2020 after getting across the first hurdle of advancing to the next stage for three consecutive seasons.

Now, let's break it down what RCB have going for them that would keep them in good stead for the whole campaign, what would be the reason for worry and what they can do to probably enhance their chances of getting into the playoffs first and then the rest can be decided for later...

Strengths

That top six!! As an opposition bowling attack, there will be fear creeping into your mind seeing Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green and Dinesh Karthik coming in to bat one after the other. RCB had a missing piece of the puzzle in Patidar last year and this could be a real breakthrough season for him and with three Indian players and two bowling options already there, RCB have an option to play a batting all-rounder or a pure batter in Anuj Rawat at No. 7 as an impact substitute. But whatever be said and done, this batting line-up could destroy even some of the best bowling attacks when on song.

India Tv - Anuj Rawat started to blossom and showed why RCB trusted him so much down the order

Image Source : BCCI/IPLAnuj Rawat started to blossom and showed why RCB trusted him so much down the order

Weaknesses

Let's leave it, why bother going through the same pain of talking about the lack of bowling resources? One, two, three... NINE - RCB have as many as nine pace bowling options as they were in the shop for adding as many faster bowlers as they could having let go of the likes of Harshal Patel and Josh Hazlewood. But do these options and the backups fulfill RCB's requirements and are worthy enough replacements? Only time will tell... but it won't be premature to say that they have issues in the whole bowling department and not just the speed.

Apart from the two bowlers mentioned above, there was another 'H' whom RCB didn't retain and that's Wanindu Hasaranga. Not only he is a capable No. 7 for RCB but is a gun leggie. Two years after the mega auction, RCB don't have either Hasaranga or Yuzvendra Chahal. Bowling spin at M Chinnaswamy Stadium is tough and small boundaries don't help when the pitches are a belter at the venue and now the load of the same relies heavily on Karn Sharma, who may be in the evening of his career; Mayank Dagar, who is decent option whom they traded in and a Swapnil Singh, who has been around the circuit for the longest but hasn't become a certainty yet.

The options are limited and iffy and hence Maxwell might have to share much of the burden of controlling middle overs, especially on the tracks where the ball turns and grips... (coughs Chennai, their first game). That is a problem there. Now, who are your remaining bowlers? Mohammed Siraj walks in, Reece Topley if fit, does too and the third one, does Yash Dayal get a go or Vijaykumar Vyshak, who had a stupendous domestic season. This is now the problem for RCB, which might have gotten even more complex with a compulsory addition of Green to the line-up.

Yes, Green will give 2-3 overs but he has taken a spot of a potentially gun fast bowler in the form of either Alzarri Joseph or Lockie Ferguson. Topley is an exceptional bowler, make no mistake but his skills in the powerplay are undeniably superior to that of death and similarly with Yash Dayal. Who bowls at the death? Either Topley doesn't start or Dayal! But is Vyshak a reliable option at the death or should they look towards a Rajan Kumar? How does Siraj fit into all of this?

India Tv - Yash Dayal and Alzarri Joseph played together at Gujarat Titans and will have to take the load at RCB now

Image Source : APYash Dayal and Alzarri Joseph played together at Gujarat Titans and will have to take the load at RCB now

That will be some of the questions, the new RCB bowling attack and team management will have to find answers to in the initial stages of the 17th season of the IPL.

Opportunity

RCB can play around with their overseas combination to get the best out of their squad. Yes, they have paid heavy bucks for Green but if they have to sort out their death bowling woes, yes, one of Alzarri or Ferguson is a must but that doesn't guarantee results as well given their economy rates at the death are in high 10s. But at least they have room to think out of the box. They could also have Tom Curran play in place of Green with the likes of Mahipal Lomror filling in for the batter's place. Curran will not only help add a few overs at the death but also can use long handle rather well late in the order. Then they have the option of Will Jacks as well, who could be unleashed on tracks like Wankhede Stadium to go out and blast.

Their best chance of winning most games would be to follow the MI 2023 formula and annihilate the opposition with the bat.

Threats

How is Dinesh Karthik's form? He has spent more time in the commentary box in the last 12 months than on the field. Yes, he played the DY Patil T20 Cup and had a couple of good scores, but IPL is one level up and he will need to hit the ground running. Similarly, Faf du Plessis hasn't had a great year with the bat and Virat Kohli hasn't played a competitive game since January. If RCB has to have a chance in IPL 2024, they will need runs from their batting line-up consistently and needless to say, high scores. 

Can this be RCB's year? Looks tough but if they do reach playoffs, IPL 2024 is going to be a lot of fun.

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