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IPL 2021 Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview: It is Now or Never for Kohli & ABD

Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview time.

Virat Kohli has had a rough time converting his 50s to three figures recently, but his T20I form is still stellar, receiving the Player of the Series award in the India Vs England T20I series.

The real question is when will Kohli-ABD convert the semi-finals & finals into IPL trophies? I think 2021 is RCB’s year. Keep on reading this preview.

Also Read: IPL 2021 Auctions Review, RCB All-Time XI

IPL History

2009, 2011, 2016 – (Runners Up), 2010, 2015 – (3rd), 2020 – (4th)

How Did They Do Last Year?

4th. Probably an accurate reflection. When RCB edged out KKR & KXIP narrowly for the fourth spot, not many complained. When RCB crashed out at the hands of Kane Williamson, nobody complained either.

  • Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 21 wickets.
  • Devdutt Padikkal did not seem like the ‘new kid on the block.’ Scored 473 runs as an opener and played some mature knocks.
  • The S factor – Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar might not have had the best IPL 2020, but in Australia, they formed the bowling core of the 3rd and 4th Tests. Their maturity was brilliant to watch.

Also Read: Life Lessons From India’s Tour of Australia

Injury & COVID-19 News

Devdutt Padikkal has tested postive for coronavirus. He might not make the first two games due to quarantine protocols. Big blow for RCB, and not the only one.

Josh Philippe has withdrawn days before the IPL for personal reasons. The only good news is that Finn Allen, who just scored a whirlwind 71(29) against Bangladesh in a T20I, is recruited as a replacement.

Complete Royal Challengers Bangalore Squad

Batsman: Virat Kohli*, Devdutt Padikkal, Rajat Patidar, Sachin Baby, Suyash Prabhudessai

WK: Srikar Bharat, Mohammed Azharuddeen

All-Rounders: Pavan Deshpande, Harshal Patel, Shahbaz Ahmed

Fast Medium: Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar

Spinners: Yuzvendra Chahal

Overseas: Finn Allen, Dan Christian, AB de Villiers, Kyle Jamieson, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Adam Zampa

Withdrawn: Josh Philippe

Predicted RCB XI

The Padikkal absence and Kohli’s insistence of Kohli-Sharma T20I opening partnership can change things up for RCB. One option is a Kohli-Azharuddeen partnership at the top. Alternatively, pair Finn Allen up at the top, drop everyone one spot, and replace one of Christian or Jamieson.

1. Mohammed Azharuddeen, 2.*Virat Kohli (C), 3. AB de Villiers (WK)4. Glenn Maxwell5. Daniel Christian6. Washington Sundar, 7. Kyle Jamieson/Daniel Sams/Adam Zampa, 8. Shahbaz Ahmed/Harshal Patel, 9. Mohammed Siraj, 10. Navdeep Saini, 11. Yuzvendra Chahal

*Devdutt Padikkal slots in at 2 whenever he recovers with everyone moving down a slot.

Watch Out For

  • Virat Kohli, the opener. 2016 season all over again? Maybe a little change is all Virat needs to get back in top gear.
  • Mohammed Azharuddeen lit up the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with a 37-ball 100 and ended up as the third highest run scorer in the tournament. If Azharuddeen-Padikkal can form a solid opening partnership at the top, the middle order can be really destructive.
  • Jamieson has seen lots of highs & lows recently with the IPL auction & the Australia T20I series, but the one to really watch out would be Dan Christian. A veteran and winner of almost all T20 championships, he is the fix that RCB never had. Overdependence on Kohli-ABD no more. With Maxwell, Dan Christan, and insurance policy of Sundar and Jamieson below, RCB finally have the consistent finishing.

Where Can Things Go Wrong For the Challengers?

All good, except they no longer play in Bangalore. With 8 games combined in Chennai & Kolkata, the likes of Maxwell & Christian might struggle. However, the spin duo of Sundar-Chahal might come to the rescue.

No other major flaws as long as Saini-Siraj can keep their economy rates in check.

Venues & Fixtures


Kolkata- 5, Ahmedabad- 4, Chennai- 3, Mumbai- 2


  • 9 April: MI vs RCB (Chennai)
  • 14 April: SRH vs RCB (Chennai)
  • 18 April: RCB vs KKR (Chennai)
  • 22 April: RCB vs RR (Mumbai)
  • 25 April: CSK vs RCB (Mumbai)
  • 27 April: DC vs RCB (Ahmedabad)
  • 30 April: PBKS vs RCB (Ahmedabad)
  • 3 May: KKR vs RCB (Ahmedabad)
  • 6 May: RCB vs PBKS (Ahmedabad)
  • 9 May: RCB vs SRH (Kolkata)
  • 14 May: RCB vs DC (Kolkata)
  • 16 May: RR vs RCB (Kolkata)
  • 20 May: RCB vs MI (Kolkata)
  • 23 May: RCB vs CSK (Kolkata)
  • 25 May: Qualifier 1 (Ahmedabad)
  • 26 May: Eliminator (Ahmedabad)
  • 28 May: Qualifier 2 (Ahmedabad)
  • 30 May: Final (Ahmedabad)


Most Runs Virat Kohli
Most WicketsWashington Sundar
Emerging PlayerMohammad Azharuddeen
Surprise PackageFinn Allen
X FactorDan Christian/ AB De Villiers
Broken Cricket DreamGlenn Maxwell. Less of a broken dream, more of a warning. If Maxwell fails again, he would be the next Aaron Finch. Not to be picked in future auctions.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview Predictions

What do you think of the Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview? Your First XI? Will they make the IPL 2021 qualifiers?

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Copyright (2021: 4/3/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X –

IPL Week 3 Recap: Diary

In IPL Week 3, there was Mankading drama, catching brilliance, finally some direct hits, and the brilliance of….none other than AB De Villiers. Oh yeah, and King Kohli is also back.

We recap IPL Week 3 via our Twitter dairy with #BCDoftheDay: Broken Cricket Dream of the Day.

In the first two weeks of IPL 2020, the tournament threw at us Tewatia’s brilliance, Pooran’s save of the century, and the young Indian talent. There were heartbreaks, Super Overs, and even a hit-wicket!

ALSO READ: Unity in Diversity XI and Fantasy Commentators XI

What Was Your Favorite Magic Moment?

We continue our IPL Diary with #BCDoftheDay – Part II – The Halfway Mark. We have several videos linked in the tweet, so you can watch the replay if you missed out.


Comment below your answer as well as your favorite moments of last week. Let us know what you think!

Enjoy the headlines!

Highlights – Week 3

Day 15 – IPL is where you get entertainment, drama, dancing,…,and even comedy!
Day 15 Game 2 – Sharjah is a joke – 227 vs 200 – why be a fast bowler?
Day 16 – Dropped Catches and Redemptions feat Manish Pandey

Day 16 Game 2 – Chris Jordan < Watson + Faf

Day 17 – To Mankad or Not to Mankad, that is the question

(Oh and also subscribe for more such articles!)

Day 18 – Pollard’s new look trumps Buttler’s brilliance
Day 19 – The worst game of the IPL? Courtesy Choking Chennai Super Kings.

Day 20 – Finally, Finally a DIRECT HIT! It has taken 20 days.

Day 21 – Ashwin vs. Buttler and direct hits galore

Day 22 – King Kohli is back. CSK definitely are not.

Day 23 Game 1 – Tewatia Can Do No Wrong & Riyan Parag Can Dance!

Day 23 Game 2 – Stoinis Out, Delhi Capitals Out

Day 24 – Why AB? Why? WHY DID YOU RETIRE????

Sources: IPLT20.comTwitter

Faf du Plessis & AB De Villiers’ Friendship: Broken Dreams of Faf and ABD

In this world, nothing is certain except death, taxes, and South Africa failing to win a World Cup. Faf and ABD know this too well. South African fans know this too well. The 2015 semi-final still hurts (as if the 1999, 1992, 2007, and 2011 World Cups were not bad enough).

Just to rub salt in the wound, even England (and kind of New Zealand) won in 2019 while South Africa endured a dismal campaign.

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This image still resonates. Dale Steyn on his knee, Grant Elliot in a moment of great sportsmanship. On the other side, captain AB de Villiers in tears and Morne Morkel—completely shattered.

Faf and ABD: Tale of Two Heroes

Fast forward to September 2020. The IPL is back. So are Faf and ABD.

Usually it is the West Indians who dominate T20 leagues, but this IPL has been South Africa’s so far. In IPL 2020, Anrich Nortje has been a revelation, while Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock continue to show the world why they are South Africa’s torchbearers to the next generation.

If you saw AB De Villiers’ finishing assault on Bumrah or Faf’s consistency in batting and acrobatic catches, you know that they still have it.

Initially, I was going to write two separate articles about Abraham de Villiers and Francois du Plessis, but that is not possible. You just cannot separate them. They are like brothers from another mothers. If AB is the graceful artist, Faf is the resilient leader. Both are legends of South African cricket.

Today we will talk their careers, their friendship, the heartbreak, what could have been, and what could still be.

While AB De Villiers has retired from international cricket (for the time being), Faf continues on. Can Faf fulfill the broken dream of ABD and win South Africa a trophy?

*as of 19 November 2021, AB De Villiers has retired from all cricket because “the flame no longer burns.” Faf Du Plessis himself was ignored from South Africa’s team for the 2021 T20 World Cup and has retired from Tests.

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*Please subscribe to never miss an article! Comment below on your favorite memories of ABD and Faf, and share ahead!

The Beginning

AB de Villers and Faf Du Plessis have been competing on and off the cricket field since middle school. They both went to the same school and university – Afrikaans High School (Affies) and University of Pretoria respectively. Over the years, their friendship has evolved with AB becoming Faf’s best man in his wedding.

Although their personal lives carried smoothly, their careers took vastly different routes.

The South African team under Graeme Smith was the only team that could challenge Australia at their home and would rise to the No.1 Test rankings. With the great Jacques Kallis, Boucher, Ntini, and Pollock, breaking into this team was not an easy task. AB was recognized early as a prospect and was tracked into the national team in 2004. In a couple of years’ time, he had established himself and by 2008, the Perth special guaranteed his journey into greatness.

On the other hand, Faf had to toil his way through domestic cricket, season after season. He even temporarily played in England with a Kolpak deal. Although Faf was becoming disillusioned, AB encouraged him to keep the hope alive with the imminent retirements of Smith and Kallis.

7 years after AB, finally Faf’s day came. It started with an epic.

Faf du Plessis had to wait for his turn in international cricket. When he did get his turn, he took his chance and followed a first innings 78 with a valiant fourth innings match-saving century against Australia in Adelaide.

The Stats

AB De Villiers

Ab De Villiers will go down as one of the All-Time greatest ODI players. Not only is his statistics out of the world – an average above 50 and strike rate above 100, it is the manner in which he changed the game. He was an innovator with his unconventional shots and created the idea of a “360 degree player.” A versatile cricketer, he could adapt to any format, situation, or challenge at hand. He could score 149*(44) or defend 43(354) in a blockathon. Apart from his batting, he can keep wickets, field in any position, and captain.

Can also play hockey, football, rugby, badminton, swim, win science competitions, sing, and has written an autobiography.

Retired from international cricket in 2018 and is a star at RCB.

Records: Fastest ODI 50/100/150, 78 test innings without a duck (most), South Africa’s 2nd highest ODI run scorer and fourth highest test run scorer.

  • Test: 114 matches, 8765 runs, average 50.66, best of 278*, 22-1 00s/46-50s
  • ODI: 228 matches, 9577 runs, average 53.50, 101.90 strike rate, best of 176, 25-100s/53-50s
  • T20I: 78 matches, 1672 runs, average 26.10, 135.16 strike rate, best of 79*, 10-50s

Faf Du Plessis

Faf is one of the most underrated batsman in the current era. He is known for his strong character through his ability to counter tough situations. Like AB, he easily adapts between formats, from blockathons and saving Test matches to becoming a successful T20 batsman with shots like the scoop. Although he is a dependable batsman, he is known for his captaincy – the ability to guide South Africa through tough rebuilding phases as well as the reformation time. And of course, his fielding.

Records: Centuries in all formats as a captain, first player to score century in a day-night Test

  • Test: 65 matches, 3901 runs, average 39.80, best of 137, 9-100s/21-50s
  • ODI: 143 matches, 5507 runs, average 47.47, 88.60 strike rate, best of 185, 12-100s/35-50s
  • T20I: 47 matches, 1407 runs, average 34.31, 134.12 strike rate, best of 119, 1-100/8-50s

The Match That Broke South Africa

The Match

24 March, 2015. New Zealand vs. South Africa at Auckland. The Proteas were arguably the favorites. Since South Africa were in the semi-finals, there had to be the obligatory rain and net run-rate calculations.

South Africa posted an excellent total with Faf, ABD, and Miller finishing the innings well. In response, McCullum blazed away against Dale Steyn, briefly collapsed, and recovered with the Grant Elliot-Corey Anderson steady partnership. Five needed in two, and Elliot hit Dale Steyn over long on for the victory.

A once-in-a-lifetime special innings from Grant Elliot. Grant Elliot, superman.

The Consequence

The great South African generation broke down, both mentally and physically. It was a slow degeneration over the next four years.

Kyle Abbott picked the Kolpak route as a direct result of being dropped for Vernon Philander on the eve of the match due to political pressure and the quota system. Other talents like Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer, and Duanne Olivier would follow.

Vernon Philander himself would wane off in a couple of years. Dale Steyn, a fast bowler who was rarely injured for over a decade began picking up freak injuries. Morne retired from international cricket early for Kolpak while ABD retired early to manage T20 leagues loads, a year before the 2019 World Cup.

2019 was a disaster. Numerous injuries, media reports, and the end of illustrious careers of Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, and Imran Tahir.

Only Faf du Plessis survived. Barely.

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Faf symbolizes resilience and commitment. After the crushing 2019 campaign, Faf had the choice to hang up his boots but he decided to give back to South African cricket.

The rest of the golden era had retired. What did Faf do? He remained in the game and stayed as captain to absorb all the pressure and criticism. He worked extremely hard, transitioned towards a new team, and inspired the youngsters around him. All with a smile.

Since Faf had to wait seven more years for a South African cap, he cherished every moment as a South African cricketer and realized the struggle of others that have to wait in the wings or are thinking about going to England.

AB De Villiers was the catalyst to South Africa’s fortunes and changed cricket forever with his inventive batting. His premature retirement and the controversies around picking and choosing gained a lot of traction among critics and fans alike, but he had a point. More than anything, he was a victim of an overkill of cricket—it does take a physical and mental toll on you. He gave 14 years to South Africa, playing all formats continuously, and we should appreciate that.

What Can We Learn?

Cricket is unpredictable, a dropped catch or run-out can change the game. Similarly, life is unpredictable. Sometimes the best do not end up victorious, but how an individual responds to tough situations is important.

Faf just never gave up. Whether saving a test match, dealing with ball-tampering allegations, or managing captaincy issues, he just never gave up. Even if the ball is traveling with speed and is seemingly going for a six, just keep your nerve and hang on. You never know, you may pull off a catch.

What does ABD teaches us? Never stop learning and improving. He was regarded as the future of South Africa pretty early on, and he put in everything for them. He kept wickets despite back injuries, opened the batting, finished innings, and captained tough situations, and learned to evolve with time.

Your only competition is with you. Even when AB was at his best, he continued to reinvent self. Your best can always get better.

They both did it differently, but Faf and AB have been inspirational in their own rights. When they batted together, you realized that South Africa was in good hands. They were just a delight to watch, and we hope the very best to them and South Africa in the future.

Where can the Proteas go from here?

Although domestic talent is continuously drained into the Kolpak system, the quota system has been controversial, and systemic discrimination has to be dealt with, all is not lost.

This IPL has shown that Faf is ever dependable, ABD still has some magic, and de Kock is ready to take more responsibility. With stars in Kagiso Rabada, Nortje, and Chris Morris, who knows, 2021 T20 World Cup is where South Africa bounces back.

For South Africa to succeed in 2021, Faf needs ABD, and ABD needs Faf. South Africa and cricket fans around the world— we want them both together, one final time.

Comment below on your thoughts about the article or your favorite memories of AB De Villiers and Faf Du Plessis.

If you liked this tribute, please check out tributes to Rahul Dravid, Lasith Malinga, and Ellyse Perry along with other such cricketing heroes.

Sources: Cricinfo,,, #ProteasFire-Youtube

Image Courtesy: Getty Images

RCB All-Time XI – Consistently Inconsistent

RCB All-Time XI….this is a tough one.

The Royal Challengers from Bangalore. They have so far remained just that- challengers, not champions. Can they win it this time in 2020?

Only time will tell, but let us reflect back and look at the All-Time XI of RCB.

The Catch

  • Gayle, Kohli, and ABD – the three stars RCB has revolved around, but then who else?
  • Kohli has played 177 games for RCB, ABD-126, Gayle-85, Chahal-83, and Vinay Kumar-64. The next in line is Zaheer Khan with mere 44 games.
  • Bangalore gave the Indian team Dravid & Kumble, but do they even find a place in the XI?

The Highlights

  • 2009, 2011, 2016 – (Runners Up), 2010, 2015 – (3rd)

MY RCB All Time XI

  1. Chris Gayle (2011-2017)
  2. Virat Kohli (2008-2019)
  3. Parthiv Patel (2014-2019) – WK
  4. Jacques Kallis (2008-2010)
  5. AB De Villiers (2011-2019)
  6. Ross Taylor (2008-2010)
  7. Robin Uthappa (2009-2010)
  8. Yuzvendra Chahal (2014-2019)
  9. Anil Kumble (2008-2010) – Captain
  10. Zaheer Khan (2008-2013)
  11. Umesh Yadav (2018-2019)

Honorable Mentions: Manish Pandey (2009-2010), Rahul Dravid (2008-2010), Dale Steyn (2008-2010, 2019)

Does it look like my bowling is not that strong? You are probably right and have just answered why RCB have yet to win an IPL.

Audience Poll – RCB All Time XI

  • Pick 11 players from the list – with 4 foreign players maximum.
  • You need to have a wicketkeeper and at least 5 bowling options.

[yop_poll id=”2″]

Thanks for voting! Please COMMENT Below on Your Teams and do not forget to SUBSCRIBE!

Do check out our All-Time XI for (1) RR/KKR and (2) KXIP/DC.

Sources: Cricinfo StatsCricinfo IPL All-Time XI

Image Courtesy: Virat KohliNAPARAZZI / CC BY-SA 2.0; AB De Villiers – paddynapper / CC BY-SA 2.0; Chris GayleNAPARAZZI / CC BY-SA 2.0; Rahul DravidChubby Chandru / via CC 2.0