Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on a struggling Chennai Super Kings at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on Sunday afternoon for the 44th match of the season. While CSK are practically out of the top-four race and will play with a nothing-to-lose attitude, RCB, on the other hand, sit at third place with 14 points and would want to beat a low-on-confidence CSK to have a strong claim for a top-two spot.
Virat Kohli’s side is coming off an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The team put a complete performance with the ball and chased down a target of 85 with utter ease. While the bowling – for a surprise this season – looks sorted out for RCB, their batting, in particular players other than AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli haven’t put up consistent performances.
Here we look at Royal Challengers Bangalore’s predicted playing XI:
RCB’s fans have been praying for Devdutt Padikkal’s inclusion in the eleven since last season. Their prayers were answered when the left-hander made his debut in RCB’s first game. He lived up to the hype around him by notching three half-centuries in his first four matches. However, post that run, Padikkal has been getting starts, but he has failed to convert it into a significant score. He has been scoring those spectacular looking 20s and 30s, but as an opener, the management would want him to not throw away his wicket after a good start.
Aaron Finch has escaped the scrutiny behind RCB’s success as the Australian has performed well below expectations, especially for an overseas pro. Finch has scored 221 runs in 10 matches at a strike rate of 110, with just one half-century. However, RCB will back the opener as his potential is well-known and they believe he is due for a big match-winning inning.
Virat Kohli as a captain has garnered a lot of appreciation, and Virat Kohli, the batsman, has been doing his regular work of scoring runs. While Kohli has scored 365 runs at an average of 60.83, his strike rate, especially in the middle overs has been a concern for RCB. They would want their skipper to bat more freely in the middle-overs, where they have lost the plot often this season.
AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers has performed the rescue task for RCB plenty of times this season. Whether it was during a run-chase which was slipping away, or when they were running out of finishers while setting a target; AB de always bailed out RCB with his remarkable batting. The wicket-keeper batsman has scored 285 runs at a scintillating strike rate of 190, with four half-centuries.
Gurkeerat Singh Mann
Gurkeerat Singh Mann may have played five matches this season, but he has got the opportunity to bat just twice. He was sent ahead of Virat Kohli at number three against KKR to get time in the middle. The right-hander supported de Villiers against Rajasthan and played a steady knock versus Kolkata. He can chip in with the ball as well.
Washington Sundar has been brilliant with the new ball in the powerplay for RCB. He has bowled with a miserly economy of 5.61, which is commendable considering the bowls mostly with the field restrictions. Sundar can do the late hitting job as well with the bat.
Chris Morris has lived up to his billing for Bangalore. The South-African all-rounder has bowled well at either end of the innings. He has generated swing with the new ball and executed his variations very well in the death. Morris has 9 wickets in 5 matches, at an impeccable average of 11 and strike rate of 13. His batting hasn’t been needed much until now.
Isuru Udana is known had a decent start in the tournament with four wickets in his first two games. However, the Sri-Lankan has been expensive; leaking runs at a shade less than 10 runs per over. With other pacers hitting their straps, the management would want their death specialist to be back in form. Adam Zampa could come in for the Dubai pitch; however, RCB are unlikely to tinker with the winning combination.
Mohammed Siraj has silenced all his critics with his performance against KKR where he blew away the Kolkata top order with three wickets in the powerplay. He became the first bowler to bowl two maidens in an IPL match. Siraj will once gear on taking on CSK batters.
Navdeep Saini has been Virat Kohli’s go-to bowler this season. That Kohli gave him to bowl the super over against Mumbai is a testimony of the trust the skipper has in Saini. The pacer may not have plenty of wickets to show, but he has been an enforcer with the ball having an economy of 8.19. Saini, with his extreme pace, has troubled the best of the batters this season.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been RCB’s best bowlers for quite a few years now. Deceptiveness in the air and variations in the pace has been Chahal’s plan for outfoxing the batsman. This season Chahal has picked 15 wickets in 10 matches, at an economy of 7.24.