Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will open their IPL 2020 campaign against their nemesis side Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday in Dubai. It’s a brand new season for the Virat Kohli-led side as they gear up to leave behind the ghosts of their past. It was RCB, who finished the last season eighth in the points table, winning only five out of 14 games.
Ahead of the forthcoming edition, the franchise has not only plugged their death-bowling holes but also roped in players to take the pressure off Kohli and AB De Villiers. The skipper also labelled the current RCB side as the most balanced since 2016; thus, one would be looking forward to a better show from them. The Bangalore-based franchise is behind in the head to head battle against Hyderabad, winning only six out of 15 games between them.
We take a look at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)’s predicted XI ahead of their first IPL 2020 game:
Parthiv Patel (wk):
Even though there remains a strong chance for youngster Devdutt Padikkal to open the innings, RCB will likely begin with Parthiv Patel. Parthiv Patel is not only experienced but also a handy opener, capable of adding 20-30 runs quickly.
The southpaw amassed 373 runs in the last season in 14 games at 26.64, maintaining a healthy strike rate of 139.18. Patel will also keep wickets for the franchise as he is quite experienced in that department too.
Australian limited-overs captain Aaron Finch is coming after having valuable game time under his belt. Aaron Finch made nearly at least 40 runs in the T20I series against England; however, made only one half-century in the ODIs.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the shortest format, the 33-year old is one of the most reliable openers. In 75 IPL games, Finch has 1737 runs at a strike rate of 130.70. The Victorian’s exploits at a top will largely take the pressure off Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers subsequently.
Virat Kohli (c):
All eyes would be on the skipper and perhaps the bedrock of RCB’s batting, Virat Kohli. Virat Kohli is a custodian of numerous IPL records, including being the highest run-getter and the most number of runs in a single IPL season. He will likely bat at his much-relished position of number three.
The 31-year old can not only play as an accumulator but also as a finisher. He has a strike rate of 131.61 in 177 IPL games while amassing 5412 runs at 37.85. Kohli will also play his first competitive game since February against a strong SRH bowling attack; hence, it would be interesting to watch how he deals with it.
AB De Villiers:
Yet another superstar of the IPL and the heartbeat of RCB’s batting line-up, AB De Villiers will bat at number four. AB De Villiers’ IPL 2020 campaign for the initial phase was in doubt, owing to the travel restrictions imposed by the South African government. However, he joined the squad and had several hit-outs with the team.
The former South African skipper is one of the dangerous and innovative batsmen in the T20 format, who could quickly take the game away from the opposition. In 142 games, the 36-year old has 4395 runs while maintaining a strike rate of 151.24. De Villiers is also an outstanding fielder and a total asset to the team.
In his brief career with the Indian team, Shivam Dube showed glimpses with both the bat and ball. When it comes to IPL, Shivam Dube has only played four matches so far. However, this could be the season that the 27-year old shines and make a regular case for the national team.
Shivam Dube’s medium pace bowling could come in real handy if the deck is two-paced or holding on the pitch slightly. Dube stands entirely capable of plundering the big shots whenever required. In only four IPL games, he maintained a strike rate of 121.
Gurkeerat Singh has so far played only 33 IPL games since debuting in 2012. Gurkeerat Singh could be one of the handiest batsmen in the lower order as he displayed in the previous season. The Punjab batsman played three games but amassed 98 runs and maintained a strike rate of 140.
He revealed to have working a lot with AB De Villiers; hence, RCB will hope that might bore some fruitful results. The right-handed batsman also bowls off-spin, which might prove useful if the pitch remains on the slower side.
RCB secured the services of Chris Morris for INR 10 crores in the auction, which raised plenty of eyebrows. Chris Morris is one player, who adds plenty of balance to the side with his all-round skills and experience.
In only 61 IPL games, Morris has 68 wickets at an economy rate of 7.99. With the bat, the Proteas all-rounder boasts of a jaw-dropping strike rate of 157.62. Number seven seems to be the perfect spot for him to bat.
Washington Sundar will come in at number eight, being reasonably experienced and delivering promising performances. Washington Sundar is not only capable of bowling some miserly spells of off-spin but also producing big hits when required.
In 21 matches, the 20-year old has 16 wickets and maintained an economy rate of 7.64. As for batting, Washingon boasts of a healthy strike rate of 141.51. He could also open the bowling for RCB in a bid to unsettle David Warner and Jonny Bairstow.
Ace South African speedster Dale Steyn will likely the pace bowling attack of RCB. Dale Steyn is arguably one of the greatest pace bowlers in the world; however, equally, injury-prone as well. Hence, that is a significant area of concern for them.
In only 92 games, Steyn has 96 wickets while maintaining an economy rate of 6.77. Hence, when he is at his best, Dale Steyn could be very challenging to negotiate and irresistible. The franchise would hope for the 37-year old to deliver big in their opening game.
Navdeep Saini has only 13 IPL games under his belt and pace is the most attractive thing about his bowling so far. Navdeep Saini will likely share the new ball along with Dale Steyn and look to unsettle the power-packed top-order of Sunrisers Hyderabad. The current season could be the one that shapes the 27-year old’s career.
Yuzvendra Chahal is the frontline spinner for the RCB and one of the most dangerous spin-bowlers in IPL history. It is worth noting that Yuzvendra Chahal goes for runs but also takes wickets at the same time, pegging back the opposition.
With 18 wickets in 14 games at 21.44, the leggie was the highest wicket-taker for RCB. In overall IPL, the 27-year old has 101 scalps in 84 games at a healthy average of 22.95 and an economy rate of 7.78.