After stunning defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in their tournament opener, RCB went on to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Delhi Capitals (DC). Their only reverse came against Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
RCB and the no. 3 quandary
While their batting has clicked well, it is the no. 3 position that must be bothering RCB. The team has tried out Rajat Patidar, Shahbaz Ahmed and, even Washington Sundar at the pivotal position, but none of them has made the desired impact.
After a couple of failures, Patidar did manage 31 off 22 against DC before giving his wicket away. Ahead of RCB’s clash against Punjab Kings (PBKS) tonight, here are three options the franchise could try out at the crucial no. 3 slot.
#3 Kyle Jamieson
This is a bit of an offbeat choice, but it could be worth a try. One of the reasons why Kyle Jamieson was purchased for a whopping sum at the auction this year was because, apart from his canny bowling, he can offer some quick runs with the bat as well. In his short international career, Jamieson has already proved that he can be a handy hitter.
In fact, Jamieson has already given some glimpses of his batting prowess in IPL 2021. Coming in at the very end of the innings, he scored 12 off nine against SRH, scoring two fours and following that up with an unbeaten 11 off four against KKR, smashing a four and a six. Even in the game against CSK, he managed a couple of impressive big hits before he was run out.
Jamieson, undoubtedly, has the talent to hit the ball a long way. RCB could utilise him as a pinch hitter at the no. 3 position, giving him the license to go after the bowling. If the move comes off, it would be viewed as a masterstroke. If not, RCB can always explore other options.
#2 Glenn Maxwell
‘Big Show’ Glenn Maxwell has been batting at the no. 4 position for RCB so far, and has been doing an impressive job. In six matches, he has notched up 223 runs at a strike rate of 145.75 and an average of 44.6, scoring two half-centuries.
What has stood out about Maxwell so far in IPL 2021 has been his matured batting in various match situations. Unlike in earlier years, when he would just come in and try to go slam-bang, the RCB batsman has displayed the patience to take a few balls and get his eye in.
The difference in approach has yielded rich dividends for RCB.
Against SRH, Maxwell guided RCB to a challenging total, batting till the very end after they lost their way with the bat. In the match against KKR, he launched a brilliant counter-attack after the team lost two early wickets.
In other words, Maxwell has read the game situations very adeptly and has reacted accordingly. Promoting him to no. 3 could give him more time to settle in and improve the chances of him playing significant, match-winning knocks.
#1 AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers is so versatile and humongously talented, he can deliver at any position RCB may want him to. He can open the batting, bat in the middle order, keep wickets or play as a pure batsman as well. He is as good as a fielder as he is as a wicketkeeper.
Speaking of his batting prowess, he has been the most consistent performer for RCB in IPL 2021 so far. Beginning with a 48 in the close win against MI, he smashed an unbeaten 76 off 34 against KKR, followed by an unbeaten 75 off 42 against DC. On all three occasions, he set up wins for RCB.
Since De Villiers has been so brilliant with the bat over the years for RCB, there have been numerous debates over whether he is coming in too low in the batting order. The simple theory put forward is: shouldn't the best and most dangerous batsman in the team face as many deliveries as possible?
There is an opportunity for RCB to seek an answer to this probing question. There is no risk at all in pushing ABD up to the no. 3 position. It would only give him more time and deliveries to pace his innings properly, which he is a master at.
From an opposition point of view, no team would want to see a lot of De Villiers with the bat, knowing very well how dangerous he can be. So pushing De Villiers up the order could provide a psychological benefit as well to RCB, going forward.