The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is finally underway and is already off to a flying start! The action has already started with fans having witnessed a super-over, last over finishes, and controversies over umpiring errors. The biggest news from RCB's point of view is that they've managed to win their first game of the season after 3 years!
After what ended up being a clinical victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Royal Challengers camp will be in high spirits.
RCB, a side that has been known more for their explosive batsmen, will be pleased with the fact that it was the bowlers who managed to pull things back when Johnny Bairstow and Manish Pandey were cruising to the target.
The Bengaluru franchise is set to face off against KXIP, a side heavily filled with Karnataka and ex-RCB players, and would want to keep their winning momentum going.
As a franchise that has a history of fussing over a playoff berth in the later stages of the tournament, RCB will not want to fall into the same pattern again and will want to get through more easily this time.
With that being said, here are 3 critical factors that could ensure RCB's victory over the Kings XI Punjab.
1) RCB should give Phillippe another chance - Play him at number 5
Josh Phillippe didn't have a dream debut like his teammate Padikkal, as he erred with the gloves and got to bat all of 2 balls. However, this is not enough to write off a player such as Phillippe.
One could say that the pressure of performing on a stage as big as the IPL could've gotten to Phillippe while keeping wickets and that his approach going forward will be slightly different from what it was in RCB's season opener.
Phillippe, who was phenomenal in the previous edition of the Big Bash League, needs to be promoted up the order. The 23-year-old has normally come in to bat when there are still some overs left to be played and has shown what he is capable of.
RCB's middle order has always been a problem due to their overdependence on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, but getting Phillippe to come in at number 5, right after de Villiers, could go a long way in solving their middle-order woes.
2) Stick with the same opening combination - Padikkal and Finch
The Royal Challengers saw two new openers come out and take the crease in their season opener in Aaron Finch and Devdutt Padikkal. While their partnership was all about young Padikkal, with Finch playing second-fiddle, there's no denying that it was an ideal combination that gave the team a 90 run partnership for the first wicket.
Both Finch and Padikkal are naturally aggressive batsmen who can also play the patient game and assess the match situation rather well. Finch can take over the run-scoring if Padikkal slows down, and this makes them the most ideal opening pair for the Royal Challengers.
Given that the Dubai International Cricket Stadium is a rather slow pitch, the openers who batted the most overs in the last game will have an idea of what to expect this time around.
3) Rest Umesh Yadav
If there was one negative about RCB's season opener, it would have to be the form of Indian paceman Umesh Yadav. While Yadav has the ability to clock great speeds with the ball, he seemed completely off target in the game against the Sunrisers as he tended to stray down the leg-side.
Giving away 48 runs off of his 4 overs, his bowling proved to be costly in a target defence that couldn't afford too many loose deliveries.
Yadav's performances for RCB in 2019 weren't too impressive either, and he gave away crucial runs in must-win games for the Bangalore side. A bowler such as Mohammed Siraj, on the other hand, will be riding high on the performances of his domestic season for Hyderabad.
RCB could benefit by resting Umesh Yadav for a game to give Siraj an opportunity early on in the tournament, as having to make changes towards the end could be dangerous.
Click here to see IPL 2020 purple cap list.Published 23 Sep 2020, 17:32 IST