If one had to fix the 'chokers' tag to an IPL team, it would have to be on Royal Challengers Bangalore. They've reached two IPL finals and a Champions League final, finishing runners-up in all three. Faltering at the biggest stage has become a habit for a team very capable of winning titles consistently. They've got balance, big hitters, stars and a penetrative bowling attack. The squad also has a mixture of youth and experience.
The team has come a long way from the 'Test team' of 2008. Chris Gayle leads a power-packed top order, followed by Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers and India's latest sensation, Virat Kohli. Gayle was retained this year for an official amount of US$550,000, while the two big purchases were Vinay Kumar (US$1 million) and Muttiah Muralitharan (US$ 220,000). Andrew McDonald, the Victoria allrounder, was bought from Delhi Daredevils during the transfer window. Zaheer Khan, if fit, will be a valuable asset to the bowling.
Royal Challengers began with a win last year but lost the next three. The fifth was abandoned, but they made the next seven games their own. In one of those games, against Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Gayle smashed 37 off one over, the hapless bowler being Prasanth Parameswaran. Gayle made Bangalore the team to watch, and it was his hitting that led them to the top of the points table. However, they lost the first qualifying final, meaning they had to win their second qualifier against Mumbai Indians to meet Chennai again in the final. In the end, they were no match for Chennai, who batted them out of the game and dismissed Gayle for a duck.
Chris Gayle - The 'hired gun' from West Indies, probably the most sought-after Twenty20 player, has committed himself to the full season. He has been busy, though, sorting out his differences with the WICB. He's expected to be fit from the groin niggle that he had sustained during the Bangladesh Premier League.
Virat Kohli - No target is beyond reach for Kohli, who's proving to be a sensation during chases. He is clearly the best thing to come out of the rubble of Australia 2011-12. He's in the form of his life, emerging as one of the most dangerous limited-overs batsmen in the world in the last year and a half. Along with Gayle, Kohli would form a destructive pair.