The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have played half their matches in the league stage of IPL 2020. Having five wins from their first seven games, this is one of the best starts that the Virat Kohli-led franchise has gotten in quite some time.
The franchise that has always started poorly and struggled to qualify for the playoffs, now needs just three wins to book their spot in the top four. RCB has gone about their game rather well, managing to hold their nerve in tough situations.
This year, the team has ended up winning games that they would have normally lost in earlier seasons. The success of RCB has many reasons, but here are the main factors that have made the difference in their IPL 2020 campaign.
#1) Devdutt Padikkal wasting no time at the top
The 20-year-old from Karnataka has not wasted any time whatsoever in making his presence felt in this star-studded RCB line-up. After having observed RCB's disastrous 2019 season from the dugout, Padikkal grabbed his opportunity this season with both hands.
The southpaw has managed to form a decent partnership with experienced campaigner and Australian T20I captain Aaron Finch at the other end. Not to mention, Padikkal has also established himself as a good fielder in the side.
Padikkal has managed to score 263 runs from his seven matches at a handy average of 34.71 and is currently ninth on the list of top run-getters in this year's edition. He has three half-centuries to his name with a high score of 63.
His ability to bat according to the situation has seen him flourish this season, taking the attack to the bowlers when things get slow or playing second fiddle when there's a star batsman firing at the other end.
The addition of young Padikkal has added some much needed Indian firepower for RCB at the top, taking the burden away from the star duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers to a certain extent.
#2) Washington Sundar's miserly spells in the powerplay
When one talks about RCB's success in the 2020 edition of the IPL, there's no way that the name Washington Sundar can be left out.
The off-spinner has come into his own this year, bowling at an economy of just 4.9 runs per over despite having to bowl most of the time in the powerplay.
The 21-year-old has also managed to pick up five wickets from his seven games, most of which have also come in the powerplay.
With Sundar coming in and bowling the right lengths at the right pace, opposition batsmen have had a hard time going after him. His contribution has been immense to this RCB team's cracking start.
Sundar has also managed to get runs with the bat. In the three innings that he has gotten to bat, the youngster has made 57 runs with his highest score being 30.
Sundar has proven himself an asset to Virat Kohli's side and will be crucial to their success as the tournament progresses.
#3) The inclusion of Chris Morris
RCB fans had to wait a while to see INR 10 crore recruit Chris Morris don the red jersey, owing to injury. However, Morris has come in and immediately given the side the balance they desperately craved for.
After suffering losses by huge margins to the Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Capitals, RCB looked like they needed a miracle to get their net run rate back to 0.
However, the addition of Morris, together with the entire bowling unit's performance, has seen RCB go on to register their highest-ever wins against CSK and KKR in consecutive matches.
While Morris hasn't had a chance to display his lethal finishing skills with the bat, he has certainly proven to be worth his weight as a death-bowler. In just two games, the South African has five wickets to his name at an economy of 4.5 runs per over.
However, the most impressive stat here is his bowling average, which stands at an astonishing 7.2.
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RCB fans will be hoping that Morris retains his form and fitness as the tournament goes deeper so that he can contribute with both bat and ball when his team needs him.Published 14 Oct 2020, 17:28 IST