Royal Challengers Bangalore: Squad, Auction Deals, Captain and Probable Team
Twice the bridesmaids but never the bride, Royal Challengers Bangalore will hope their star-studded batting line-up can finally lead them down the aisle in the 2014 IPL.
Heartbreaking grand final defeats to Deccan in 2009 and Chennai in 2011 were painful enough, but for the last two years, RCB have missed out on even making the semi-finals.
Steps have been taken to prevent this happening again, however, and after shelling out on the 2014 auction's most expensive player, another failure would be embarrassing.
Let's take a look at how Bangalore are shaping up ahead of the new campaign.
As part of Bleacher Report's extensive coverage of this season's Indian Premier League, this slideshow will preview the Royal Challengers Bangalore prospects this year.
Batsmen: Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel (wk), Tanmay Mishra, Yogesh Takawale and Vijay Zol
All-Rounders: Yuvraj Singh (c)
Bowlers: Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Sachin Rana, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shadab Jakati, Sandeep Warrier, Harshal Patel
Batsmen: Nic Maddinson, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers
All-Rounders: Albie Morkel
Bowlers: Mitchell Starc, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ravi Rampaul
The Challengers first move in the 2014 IPL auction was to retain the services of three of T20 cricket's finest exponents; Gayle, de Villiers and Kohli.
Their next action, however, shocked the room as they secured the services of Yuvraj Singh for the small matter of Rs. 14 crore (around $2.3 million) making him the most expensive player in the entire auction.
Finally, someone reminded RCB's management that they might actually need some bowlers and Starc, Morkel and the world's leading Test wicket taker of all time, Muralitharan, began packing their bags and looking up Bangalore on the map.
A few bargains were also brought on board with Jakati and Warrier amongst others fleshing out a richly talented squad.
Rating Their Business
Securing their three "franchise" players, Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers, was sensible business by RCB. but the big-money signing of Singh represents a huge risk.
The 32-year-old appears bereft of confidence and form of late, as evidenced by his painful innings of just 11 from 21 balls against Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup final, and is public enemy No. 1 in India right now!
But, things change very quickly in cricket's shortest format, and if Singh can rediscover his touch, then RCB are going to boast a stellar batting line-up.
With the big money going on runs, the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan will have to shoulder a lot of responsibility to keep things tight AND take wickets—especially if Starc or Morkel break down.
Keep an eye out for medium pacer Sandeep Warrier who could be one of this year's breakthrough players.
Captain and Coach
Kohli has been on fire over the last few months and finished as the leading runscorer at the T20 World Cup, with 319 runs from just six innings.
Many have tipped the gifted strokemaker to eventually captain his country, and if he can lead RCB to glory then that will do his chances of future international leadership no harm at all.
An intriguing move has seen New Zealand's Daniel Vettori take the coaching reins at the team he has represented over the last three seasons.
Despite having little experience of controlling teams off the pitch, the Kiwi has always seemed to possess a keen cricket brain and could be a shrewd appointment. He will be supported by bowling coach Alan Donald.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore could line up something like this:
1) Chris Gayle
2) Parthiv Patel
3) Virat Kohli
4) Yuvraj Singh
5) AB de Villiers
6) Vijay Zol
7) Albie Morkel
8) Mitchell Starc
9) Shadab Jakati
10) Varun Aaron
11) Ashok Dinda
Prediction for the Tournament
With a phalanx of big-hitting, quick-scoring batsmen, the Royal Challengers Bangalore could set and chase down some huge totals in this year's tournament. This is especially true with the man pictured above firing on all cylinders.
Thus, making the final stages for the fourth time in seven years should be obligatory as lifting the trophy will be the main goal inside the dressing room.
However, have they overspent on the batting side of the team? It would only take a couple of injuries or losses of form until Kohli's men are relying heavily on Murali to take the wickets.