A spirited performance from comeback man Virat Kohli and a magical hat-trick by RCB debutant Samuel Badree was not enough to take their side to victory and it will be a very crucial game when they take on Steve Smith’s RPS at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.
With just one victory from first four games of the season, RCB are lying in the bottom half of the table and they need to start winning as early as possible if they want their playoff hopes to be alive. One of the major problems with the Bengaluru outfit has been their playing combination, as the absence of quality all-rounders and lack of good bowlers who can bat a bit is creating tons of problems for Daniel Vettori and his men.
As Vettori and Kohli try to find a winning combination, let us wear our predictor’s hat and see how close we can get to their choices.
Openers: Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle
With the return of Virat ‘King’ Kohli at top of the order, one opening slot has been booked for the rest of the IPL. However, the poor performance by Jamaican big-hitter Chris Gayle means RCB don’t have a stable opening combination at top.
Having tried Mandeep Singh, Shane Watson and Vishnu Vinod to open the innings, RCB are yet to find a suitable partner for their skipper. However, Kohli has expressed his backing for Gayle for the home games and the stature of the Caribbean can earn him another go at top of the order.
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Middle Order: AB de Villiers, Kedar Jadhav (WK), Mandeep Singh
The weakest link of the team because of the absence of some key players like Rahul, RCB middle-order has been about one player on one day. While Kedar Jadhav fired one day to take his team to par score, de Villiers did the talking with the willow against KXIP but that was not good enough to win them the match.
What RCB need is a collective performance from the middle-order and the likes of AB, Mandeep and Kedar are more than capable of delivering it. Known for backing and giving a fair number of chances to his players, Kohli is expected to stick with the same middle-order as the last game.
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All-Rounders: Stuart Binny/Pawan Negi/Harshal Patel (any two)
Another weak link in the line-up, the likes of Negi and Binny are very handy customers when it comes to paper but they have hardly produced any memorable performance so far. Pawan Negi has been repeatedly letting the team management down, as he was not able to give the final flourish when sent to bat ahead of Binny and Mandeep against Mumbai Indians.
Under such circumstances, either Binny or Negi might be dropped to bring in Harshal Patel, who is yet to feature in a game this season. The kind of bowling attack captain wants against RPS may well go on to decide whether Binny or Negi will be dropped.
Spinners: Yuzavendra Chahal and Samuel Badree
Although Chahal and Badree had a contrasting game against Mumbai Indians, both of them are expected to retain their place in the team line-up. While Badree has secured his place with a gem of a performance including a hat-trick against Mumbai side, Chahal always has the backing of Kohli and captain is not going to lose faith in him because of one poor game. Overall, this looks to be the department which may not need a discussion at all.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) April 14, 2017
Fast Bowlers: Tymal Mills, Sreenath Aravind
While it has been an average IPL for Tymal Mills, the pacer is expected to retain his place and can well turn out to be the trump card in an important fixture. On the other hand, Aravind has not done anything extraordinary so far this season but a lack of good options might force team management to stick with Karnataka pacer for another game.
So, this is our predicted line-up for the RCB on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how close we get to the original set-up.
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