With IPL 2023 set to begin on March 31, fans around the world will be gearing up for some highly-anticipated action and cricket extravaganza. Defending champions Gujarat Titans face Chennai Super Kings in the season opener, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Many fans have been left wondering if Hardik Pandya can repeat the heroics of their debut season, or will MS Dhoni lead CSK to another IPL title. Also, one of the big talking points is Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are one of the most popular franchises in the country, but have never won the IPL. Although, they have finished runners-up on three occasions between 2009 and 2016.
Last season, RCB finished in fourth position in the league phase, and then lost in the Eliminator to Rajasthan Royals, which saw them fail to reach the final. The Faf du Plessis-led side made some smart additions during the IPL 2023 auction, purchasing Will Jacks for ₹3.2 crores. But in a big blow, Jacks has been ruled out for IPL 2023 due to an injury and has been replaced by Michael Bracewell. During the auction, the franchise added to their pace department by acquiring England’s Reece Topley for ₹1.9 crores. Meanwhile, they also added Rajan Kumar ( ₹70 lakhs), Avinash Singh ( ₹60 lakhs), Sonu Yadav ( ₹20 lakhs), Himanshu Sharma ( ₹20 lakhs) and Manoj Bhandage ( ₹20 lakhs).
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The franchise also have a strong bowling department, consisting of the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Mohammed Siraj, Wanindu Hasaranga, Topley and former Purple Cap winner Harshal Patel. Speaking on Star Sports, former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar analysed RCB’s bowling strength and made a bold prediction.
“Their pace bowling has depth. Even if Hazlewood is not fit, then they have Topley. In spin, they have Wanindu Hasaranga. They have Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel. Their bowling is perfect and even Maxwell can bowl. In this IPL, according to me, the best bowling attack belongs to RCB and that is their combined x-factor”, said the former cricketer.
RCB open their IPL 2023 campaign on April 2, against Mumbai Indians at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. All eyes will also be on Virat Kohli. The former RCB captain is IPL’s highest all-time run-scorer, and finished last season with 341 runs in 16 matches. He also won the Orange Cap in IPL 2016, amassing 973 runs, which is also the record for most runs scored in a single IPL season. During the season, he smacked four tons, including one in a curtailed 15-over match against PBKS. But even still his performances weren’t enough as RCB lost to David Warner-led SunRisers Hyderabad in the final. In the all-time run-scorers list, Kohli is on top with 6411 in 216 matches, including five tons and 42 fifties.
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