Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that the inclusion of Moeen Ali in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) playing XI could allow Virat Kohli to shed his inhibitions and play more aggressively.
He made this observation while previewing the IPL 2020 Eliminator between the Virat Kohli-led team and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra started by pointing that the Sunrisers Hyderabad are a team on the ascendancy, having defeated the other playoff qualifiers including RCB in their last three matches of the league phase.
"Sunrisers Hyderabad is a team on the rise, having defeated Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and RCB. They are are looking very strong, so I am not thinking of too many changes in their lineup."
The renowned commentator lauded Wriddhiman Saha for triggering their revival after his inclusion in the SRH playing XI.
"Wriddhiman Saha is the one who has catapulted their fortunes, he is the guy who has come in and changed everything."
Coming to RCB, Aakash Chopra suggested that the franchise should open the batting with Washington Sundar in the company of Devdutt Padikkal.
"I will give a left-field suggestion for Bangalore. I want them to open with Washington Sundar alongside Devdutt Padikkal. They should not worry that both are left-handers and Sundar has opened in TNPL and for Tamil Nadu. He is actually a batsman who started bowling."
He added that he wants RCB to include Moeen Ali in their middle order at the expense of Joshua Philippe.
"So, I will drop Joshua Philippe with Kohli at No.3, AB de Villiers at No.4, Moeen at No.5 and Gurkeerat Mann at No.6."
The former KKR player reasoned that the presence of the England all-rounder behind AB de Villiers in the RCB batting order would afford Virat Kohli the liberty to play an attacking brand of cricket.
"If Moeen Ali is there after AB de Villiers, I feel Virat Kohli will be able to play more freely. Because now he feels, who will come after AB de Villiers but if Moeen is going to come after AB, he will be more comfortable with the thought."
Aakash Chopra expressed hope that both Navdeep Saini and Chris Morris would have recovered from their injuries and would take the field for RCB in tonight's encounter.
"They should get Navdeep Saini back and fit as this team cannot do without him. So he needs to play and hopefully Chris Morris' injury is not serious."
Aakash Chopra on the player battle to look forward to in the RCB vs SRH encounter
"If one team has Rashid Khan and the other team has AB de Villiers, look no further. This is exactly the player battle."
He reasoned that the Afghan leg-spinner holds the key for SRH's success and that the South African can tilt the balance of the match in RCB's favour if he gets the better of the former.
"Rashid Khan has the leg spin and the googly and he is the heartbeat of SRH. He single-handedly manages their bowling attack. If AB wins that battle, he will take the match in his team's favour else Rashid will not only snare him but also trouble Kohli."
The 43-year-old picked Rashid Khan to come up trumps in his battle with AB de Villiers.
"I think there is a good possibility that Rashid will win that battle or he will create so much pressure that someone else will dismiss AB and Kohli."
Aakash Chopra signed off by picking SRH as the likely victors in tonight's encounter against RCB.
"I am going with Hyderabad."
The winner of today's IPL 2020 Eliminator between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Sunrisers Hyderabad will take on the Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 2.
Also see :- IPL playoffs schedule