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Can Bangalore finally break the jinx in the Indian T20 League?

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Team Bangalore have been a mystery package all along in the Indian T20 League. Despite having some of the greatest talents in their squad, the Virat Kohli-led team has always fallen short of glory, thus earning the moniker of perennial underachievers.

With seven wins in their first 10 games of the 2020 edition, Bangalore seemed to be on course for a confident title challenge. But they came stumbling down in the latter half of the tournament, losing out in the eliminator.

Virat Kohli and co. begin their 2021 season against defending champions Mumbai, and considering the influx of talented overseas players, the three-time finalists would appear confident of breaking the jinx this time around.

Team Bangalore squad

As a sign of a squad overhaul, Bangalore released 10 players - the likes of Aaron Finch, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Dale Steyn, and the now-retired Parthiv Patel. The team entered the February auctions with a purse of Rs 35.40 crore and went on a spending spree of Rs 35.05 crores.

The team retained 12 players, including Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Devdutt Padikkal, and broke the bank to sign New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson (Rs 15 crore), Australian all-rounders Glenn Maxwell (Rs 14.25 crore) and Dan Christian (Rs 4.8 crore).

Team Bangalore squad for Indian T20 League 2021: Virat Kohli (captain), Devdutt Padikkal, Finn Allen (wicketkeeper), AB de Villiers (wicketkeeper), Pavan Deshpande, Washington Sundar, Daniel Sams, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Kane Richardson, Harshal Patel, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Kyle Jamieson, Daniel Christian, Suyash Prabhudessai, K.S. Bharat

Team Bangalore strength and weakness

Strengths:

At the onset, it is quite clear that Bangalore have one of the most formidable batting resources going into the 14th edition of the T20 extravaganza. With skipper Virat Kohli set to open for his team this season and Glenn Maxwell’s addition to the mix, cricket fans are in for a marvelous treat of some batting fireworks.

While the top-order seems particularly intangible, Maxwell and Dan Christian’s arrival will bolster the middle-order firepower as batters between #4 - #7 registered 821 runs in the 2020 season - the second-lowest of all teams.

Weakness:

One of the persisting areas of concern for Bangalore has been their fast bowler conundrum. Despite splashing the cash on Kyle Jamieson, the Kiwi pacer’s inexperience on Indian tracks and Mohammed Siraj’s tendency to return with an expensive spell is yet another sign that Virat Kohli’s men should have bid for a recognized pace bowler to headline their bowling attack.

Kane Richardson - who skipped the previous season for paternal reasons and also the travel restrictions due to the pandemic - returns to the fold and his recent tally of seven wickets in the T20I series against New Zealand could offer a minimal respite to Bangalore’s woes.

Who can be the highest run-scorer for Team Bangalore?

Devdutt Padikkal broke Bangalore’s massive dependence on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the batting department, as he smashed 473 runs to finish as the team’s leading run-getter for the 2020 season. This season, however, Glenn Maxwell is expected to be the chief hard-hitter for the franchise. An explosive batsman on his day, Maxwell tallied 379 runs in Big Bash League 2020-21 and will look to put the ghosts of his disastrous 2020 season - 108 runs in 13 games - to rest this time around.

Who can be the highest wicket-taker for Team Bangalore?

While the limelight will be directed towards Kyle Jamieson, Bangalore will depend on their homegrown talents in Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj to spell trouble for opposition batters in the 2021 Indian T20 League. Siraj scalped 11 wickets last term and is 10 wickets away from completing 100 wickets across T20s. The 27-year-old commands an economy rate of 8.52 in the first innings in the competition and Virat Kohli will be eager to see the pacer showcase his true potential in the latest edition.

Where will Team Bangalore finish in Indian T20 League 2021?

As unpredictable as they are, it is safe to say that Bangalore should at least qualify for the playoffs stage of Indian T20 League 2021. Deploying a perfect strategy around the bowlers will be the major piece of the puzzle for Virat Kohli, given there won’t be much to ponder upon from the batting point of view.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Manjunath Kiran

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