Despite making a lot of changes to their squad, Aakash Chopra believes the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will qualify comfortably for the playoffs and fare better this season than last year when they were knocked out in the Eliminator.
RCB have roped in Tim David, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, George Garton and Akash Deep as replacements for Finn Allen, Adam Zampa, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson and Washington Sundar, all of whom aren’t available due to various reasons.
The Challengers sit at the third position in the points table, having won 5 out of 7 matches in the India leg.
“See they have already won 5 games, 3 more to win. They’ll sure win 3. I have a solid feeling from my heart similar to last season that the side will do well,” Aakash Chopra said in his YouTube video.
Aakash Chopra lauded the Virat Kohli-led outfit for performing above his expectation in the Chennai games – they won all three – during the first half of the season. He talked about the team won matches with different players standing up when Kohli’s bat was mostly subdued.
“To everyone’s surprise, the way they started in Chennai was sensational. I believed that this team won’t do much in Chennai as it’s not a ground that’s going to suit their brand of play. But none of that happened. They changed everything for the better. Harshal Patel was brilliant. No team utilized Glenn Maxwell’s capabilities better than RCB,” he said.
“We were criticizing the team’s decision to slide Ab de Villiers down the order and they said we can still get performances out of him. Despite Virat Kohli not being at his best, the team did well, the bowlers did well. Yuzi Chahal may not have picked up a lot of wickets but everyone did their role beautifully and have helped the side to win 5 out of 7 games.”
Harshal Patel won’t be able to perform even half of what he performed in the first half: Aakash Chopra
The cricketer-turned-commentator stressed that since the conditions in the UAE are different from what they were in Chennai, Harshal Patel, who is the current Purple Cap holder with 17 wickets, won’t be as effective as he has been so far.
Aakash Chopra also backs Kohli to come good with the bat and lead from the front.
“I am expecting some changes in the starting XI. I don’t think Harshal Patel will be able to perform even half of what he performed in the first half of IPL 14 because conditions have drastically changed. I think Virat Kohli will find his form during Phase 2. Ab de Villiers is Ab de Villiers. He is sure to perform,” the former India opener concluded.
RCB will take on Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata Knight Riders on September 20 in Abu Dhabi to resume their season as they chase their maiden IPL title.