Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) enter IPL 2020 as the underdogs yet again, with hardly anyone giving them a chance of winning the title. Virat Kohli’s men had finished at the bottom of the table in 2019 and will face a huge challenge to enter the top four this season.
However, they have managed to assemble a balanced team this time around, with the addition of players like Aaron Finch and Adam Zampa in the squad. The team will begin their IPL 2020 campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday and we look at the predicted playing XI for the first few games.
Aaron Finch and Devdutt Padikkal
Australian opener Aaron Finch does not have the best record in the IPL, and did not have a good outing in his last season in 2018 either, when he amassed 134 runs in 10 games for Kings XI Punjab. However, he has improved his game massively over the last few years and has gone on to captain his national team in ODIs and T20Is. The opener was in excellent form in the recent series against England, and he will have the onus of taking pressure off the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Devdutt Padikkal was in fine form in domestic cricket last season and is a sure starter in the side. It means that Parthiv Patel is benched for the first few matches that RCB play.
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Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers
In Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, RCB have two of the biggest match-winners in their middle order. The Indian skipper opened the innings in the last few years, but can be slotted into his preferred position after the inclusion of Finch in the side. Kohli is one of the biggest match-winners in the era, and the team’s performance will depend on how well he fares.
De Villiers was seen practising his wicket-keeping skills in the nets prior to the IPL, which indicates that the South African will don the gloves this year. Mr. 360, as he is often called, is one of the most dangerous players when he gets going, and he, along with Kohli will play a crucial role.
Moeen Ali, Washington Sundar, Shivam Dube and Chris Morris
RCB have managed to procure four genuine all-rounders, and they all will have a huge role to play this season. Moeen Ali adds great balance to the unit, and is an underrated T20 batter. He is great against the spinners and can be lethal with his off-spinners in the middle overs.
Sundar is another great finisher, who can play quick cameos and can pitch in with four overs regularly. The off-spinner can bowl in the powerplay overs, which will allow Kohli to use Yuzvendra Chahal in crucial moments.
Shivam Dube has played four IPL matches with just 40 runs and no wickets to his name. However, he has various variations with the ball, and his short balls and his cutters could be lethal.
Chris Morris was bought by RCB this year, and will have the role of bowling in the death overs. RCB do not have the best fast bowlers in their ranks, and Morris, with his experience, will be expected to lead the charge.
Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal
Umesh Yadav has been excellent in the first six overs in the last few seasons for RCB, but has leaked runs in the death. The inclusion of Morris means that Kohli might bowl Umesh upfront, where his swinging deliveries will trouble the players.
Navdep Saini is expected to partner Umesh with the new ball. He has an accurate yorker as well, and the fact that he can consistently bowl in the 140s makes him tough to face. He is expected to take the field over Mohammad Siraj, who has not had the best economy rates in the last few years.
Yuzvendra Chahal, the highest wicket-taker for RCB, will find the conditions in the UAE to his liking. Chahal has fared well on the flat tracks of Chinnaswamy over the years, and will be expected to have a good outing on the slow wickets in IPL 2020. The fact that he has Moeen Ali and Sundar as company will take some pressure off him.
RCB Predicted Playing XI for IPL 2020:
Aaron Finch, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal