India batting legend Dilip Vengsarkar has picked Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore to win their maiden IPL this season. The thirteenth season of the T20 league is being held in the UAE and so far RCB have won two of their three matches so far.

RCB have thrice made the final of the league before but ended up runners-up on all occasions. Last season was a forgettable one for them as they finished last in the points tally among the participating eight teams.

However, Vengsarkar reckons that the Bangalore-based franchise has a good balance and depth in their squad which is more than capable of ending their wait for a silverware.

“In this T20 format, it is very difficult to say who the front runners will be,” Vengsarkar told news agency IANS. “But I would say Bangalore are winning it this time, because they haven’t won it so far. Kohli, AB de Villiers and Yuzvendra Chahal will come good. They have a lot of good players in the squad. Pacer Navdeep Saini bowled extremely well in their first game (against SunRisers Hyderabad). So, I will be interested to see their progress in the tournament.”

But the 64-year-old said that nothing is certain and RCB are just one of the favourites

“Well, the RCB could be the favourites — one of the favourites — but I can’t stick out my neck and say that X, Y or Z will (surely) win. But they could be one of the favourites,” he said.

This is the second time in IPL history that the tournament is being held in the UAE and the first time in entirety.

The hot and humid conditions are different to those that the players are used to playing in India.

“Basically, the conditions are humid in the UAE. But then that is bound to happen because in these months, it’s quite warm and humid there. And, of course, IPL in India is played in 10-12 centres and in the UAE you are playing only at three centres, so there will be wear and tear of the pitches as you go along. It will be interesting,” Vengsarkar observed.

“The spinners can come into play later on with the help of pitches. And the weather will definitely improve because October and November are relatively cooler, especially in the evenings, in the UAE. I say this because I used to play in Sharjah etc., so I know a bit about the weather,” he added.

The dew factor has seen captains preferring chase.

“The dew factor is very important because if there is dew, it becomes tough to grip the ball, especially for the spinners. That’s bound to happen. So, you take chances when you win the toss and have to decide what you want to do. But you don’t get the dew every day; only on some days,” he said.

When asked if players may not be able to give their 100 per cent due to the restrictions placed in wake of coronavirus pandemic, the former India captain replied, “It is too early to say. You can say about this only in the second half of the tournament. It is not fair for me to comment on that at this stage.”

He continued, “I don’t know if it (empty stadiums) reduces the performances, but if it is a full house, the atmosphere is fine. What happens is a full house inspires you. So, that part might be missing in this tournament, and it is all because of the pandemic. You can’t really help. But, of course, any player would like to play in front of a full house.

“Everybody takes pride in his performance and in contributing to his team’s cause, whether there are crowds or not. That is the top priority. And if there is a crowd, it adds to it; you are charged up.”