The Royal Challengers Bangalore appear to be the team to beat in the Champions League. They look quite well-rounded on both counts that matter — talent and intent.
While the franchisee expressed its intent in no uncertain terms by splurging $6,00,000 (around R 2.79 crore) in buying out three foreign players from their home teams, the players underlined the talent part by winning two practice games here against the Central Stags and the Victoria Bushrangers.
The victory against the Bushrangers on Wednesday must have tasted even sweeter as it came against the potent pace trio of Dirk Nannes, Peter Siddle and Clint Mckay — arguably the best pace attack in the championship — while chasing down a 179-run total. This showing will enhance their confidence in their ability to handle quick and short stuff.
And for those who feel the glamour quotient is as important as talent and intent in club cricket, the Bangalore outfit doesn't fall short, what with the presence of brand ambassador Deepika Padukone. The lovely lady is already here, and cheered the team to a win over Bushrangers from the dugout on Wednesday.
Besides, the fact that RCB turned the corner in the IPL here in South Africa is also another plus for them. “The loss in the final of IPL II still rankles, and we are looking forward to make amends in the Champions League,” said RCB's Manish Pandey, who struck a fine half-century in the win over the Bushrangers.
Upbeat after the win, the youngster declared that RCB were the team to beat in the tournament. “I have no hesitation in saying that we are the best team in the tournament. We have adapted to the conditions really well, and most of us have the experience of playing on these wickets,” he said.
So, all looks well for the Bangalore team, except for a little concern on the health and injury front. While Rahul Dravid missed the practice game on account of not being well, Jacques Kallis is learnt to have sustained a small injury. “That's just a minor glitch. Both of them will be fine by the time tournament starts,” said an RCB official.