With only one victory and as many as three losses from their first four games, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) find themselves sixth in the points table. Despite reducing Mumbai Indians to 33/5, they could not seal the deal on their own turf.
Their next match against the bottom-placed Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) will provide an opportunity to move up the ladder. Considering the type of pitch and other factors on offer at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, this could be the likely eleven for RCB.
With just 60 runs from three matches at a below par strike-rate of 107.14, Gayle has struggled for form in the season thus far. However, he has got the backing of skipper Virat Kohli for RCB’s home games and is expected to keep his place. The Jamaican needs only three runs to become the first batsman to scale the 10,000-mark in T20s.
Virat Kohli (C)
Despite being out of action for a while, Kohli showed no signs of rustiness against Mumbai Indians and made a mark at the top of the order. Needless to say, his presence will strengthen the batting lineup by a considerable margin. More so if the Chinnaswamy surface continues to play slow and low.
AB de Villiers
One of the most dynamic batsmen in the tournament, de Villiers has gotten off to a strong start. His 46-ball 89 against Kings XI Punjab showed his ability to bat at a rapid pace on even tricky pitches. His partnership with Kohli will be instrumental in setting the foundation for a solid season.
Kedar Jadhav (WK)
Kedar forms the link between the explosive top-order and the unconvincing lower-order for the Royal Challengers. Having improved by leaps and bounds in the Indian ODI side during the recent home season, his performances will be keenly watched from various quarters.
Usually an eye-catching stroke-player at the top of the order, Mandeep has to come in much lower due to the strength and experience of the top half. Batting in a difficult position, he has not been able to get a move on thus far. The team management will hope that the fragile RPS bowling lineup gives him a new lease of life.
By the time Binny comes into bat, the innings would invariably be approaching its finishing stages. Capable of wielding the long handle to good effect, his crisp timing can swell the team total in the death overs. It will be interesting to see if he gets promoted up the order should the top three fire in unison. The right-armer may also be summoned to deliver a few overs.
Negi has played two games in the season thus far and managed contrasting results. While his fuller deliveries doused Delhi’s hopes in the final over, the match against Mumbai Indians saw him concede 28 runs from 2 overs. Nevertheless, his handy lower-order batting should help him retain his spot in the playing eleven.
Fresh from a hat-trick in the previous match against Mumbai Indians, Badree’s wicket-taking prowess should augur well for RCB in the early stages of the innings. Upon witnessing the inability of the other bowlers to break a game-changing partnership, Kohli may want to keep an over or two from him for the middle-overs.
If Badree‘s tight stump-to-stump line offers a conundrum for the batsmen, Chahal exasperates their problems with his canny style of bowling. Considering his elevation to the Indian T20I team and his recent performances in national colours, RCB will be looking for a lot more from the 26-year-old leg-spinner.
Aravind did not concede a boundary in the last game against Mumbai until Tymal Mills let one slip through to the third man fence. With his clever change of pace and variation in length, the left-armer is one of the better Indian seamers available for Bangalore.
Having turned numerous heads with his astronomical sale in the auction, Mills has not quite lived up to the lofty expectations yet. He picked up only three wickets and conceded 122 runs from the first four games. Given his ability to clock multiple spectrums of the speedometer, the team management should still retain faith in the Yorkshireman for the next couple of matches at least.