This season has been a nightmare of sorts for the Royal Challengers Bangalore for a number of reasons. They were jolted with a spate of injuries to a number of star players even before the season began and owing to this their campaign never kicked-off.
Even when the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers returned to the fold the team has not been able to galvanise properly and dish out results which are expected of the star-studded side. And then came the abysmal display at the Eden Gardens where the famed batting line-up were shot out for a measly 49, which is the lowest score in IPL history.
After such a drubbing, Virat Kohli would have wanted to get back on the ground and make a statement but unfortunately, their match against the defending champions against the Sunrisers Hyderabad was washed out.
RCB will now face Gujarat Lions and now with the backs against the walls they need to step out and play with freedom and express themselves.
Here is the predicted XI for their match against Gujarat Lions:
Virat Kohli is an angry man with bruised ego and when he has been pushed to a corner he generally comes out fighting and one can expect the captain to lead the way both with the bat and then on the field. It is a matter of do or die and much like the previous season, Kohli will need to bring out his best to the fore.
Chris Gayle is the ideal man for such a situation and he has looked in good touch so far and now when the team needs the big stars to stand up, the Jamaican has to come out all guns blazing at a ground which adores him against the same opposition he smashed into submission in Rajkot.
AB de Villiers posted an emotional message for the fans after the shambolic display in Kolkata and now he needs to take the bull by the horns and sort things out. He has the game and temperament to play the decisive part and there is nothing less than an inspired performance which will galvanise the team.
Kedar Jadhav has looked the most assured batsman in the RCB ranks and at number 4 he plays a very crucial role, but is having an iffy tournament because he can never play his game due to the torrid form of other players. His innings of 69 and a 38* have been sublime and RCB would hope his form continues.
Harpreet Singh has finally got his due and after the name spotting mess, the young man is back to where he belongs. RCB need to change their current scenario, and for that they need to infuse an unknown commodity, but at the same time one should bear in mind that Harpreet is no bunny when it comes to T20 format. He can tonk the ball high and fa and was the leading run scorer in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Stuart Binny is an enigma. Despite not doing justice to his potential, RCB still persists with him because he can balance the side. He has not been impressive with either the ball or bat, but continues to enjoy the faith of the management owing to the fact that they simply do not have a capable replacement. He might get another game to prove his mettle.
Pawan Negi has been a decent performer for the RCB and Kohli has used him at the death. With the bat he is a capable hitter but as has been the norm this season none of the players have done justice to their potential. However, on a sluggish Chinnaswamy surface, Negi is a good man to have in the team.
Tymal Mills is a big money signing but he has not repaid the faith shown in him by the franchise. Although, he has looked good in spurts, there has not been one match in which he has stamped his authority. However, he is an experienced T20 player and at this point of the tournament, one needs experience in their mix.
Sreenath Aravind has been a steady performer for the RCB and has the variations to flummox the batsmen. He needs to be given the new ball as he is adept at swinging the ball and this needs to be extracted by the RCB. Will the older ball, he has the cutters and the slower balls to fall back on and all-in-all is a good value addition.
Samuel Badree is one of the leading spinners in the world and he has already given an account of his class by taking a hattrick against the Mumbai Indians. However, he was taken to the cleaners by Sunil Narine at the Eden Gardens and this is where Kohli has to make a call as to where to use him. He can be more adept with the older ball without the field restrictions but can be utilised as an opening bowler too.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been the best bowler for RCB and is brimming with confidence and has real mastery over his art. He has the ability to pick up wickets at any phase of the match and can be a match-winner on his day.