Royal Challengers Bangalore have actually been in good form since IPL 2020. While they reached the playoffs last year, they started IPL 2021 on a good note with five wins from seven encounters. However, unless the good form culminates into a trophy, the fans will not be satisfied. On that note, in this article, we take a look at the strongest playing XI for RCB in the UAE. RCB’s first game will be against KKR on September 20th in Abu Dhabi.
Openers: Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli (C)
Devdutt Padikkal scored 195 runs in six innings, including a century, in the first phase of IPL 2021. The southpaw has also made his India debut since then. Devdutt made his IPL debut in UAE last year and he had started off well. He will hope to repeat the success and the Karnataka lad will likely play all the remaining encounters for the team.
Virat Kohli‘s form has been concerning and even moving up the order does not seem to have helped. That said, he has started showing signs of a comeback and RCB will want their skipper to be at his best in the UAE.
Middle-Order: Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell, and AB de Villiers (WK)
Rajat Patidar did not make use of his chances in the first phase, but the management has backed him. He is known to be a good player of spin, and hence, at least for the initial games, he is likely to be in the XI in the UAE. RCB, though, has backups in the form of Sachin Baby, Mohammed Azharuddin and KS Bharat if needed for this slot.
Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers carried RCB’s batting unit in the first phase. The duo has scored 223 and 207 runs respectively in seven games so far. They have also been batting at a terrific strike rate. Maxi did not do well in the UAE last time around, and this will be an area of improvement.
All-Rounders: Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, and Kyle Jamieson
The No.2 T20I bowler at the moment, Wanindu Hasaranga will turn up for RCB in the second phase of IPL 2021. With Washington Sundar unavailable for the franchise, Hasaranga will walk straightaway into the playing XI. Compared to Dan Christian, he offers better batting insurance at No.6.
Although they are unproven with the bat, Shahbaz Ahmed and Kyle Jamieson are likely to be part of the lower middle-order in the strongest playing XI for RCB in the UAE. RCB could be tempted to play an extra batsman instead of Shahbaz, but that depends on the bowling form of the others. Jamieson has started well and will want to work on his economy ahead of the T20 World Cup.
Bowlers: Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Yuzvendra Chahal
The holder of the Purple Cap at the moment, Harshal Patel’s form dipped at the end of the first phase. Thankfully for him, he has got a break and this could help him. His bowling style would also suit the pitches at the UAE. RCB could also try making use of the batsman in Harshal.
Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Siraj will continue to form the core of the bowling attack. Chahal’s form needs to improve so that he does not find himself out of morale before the T20 World Cup. Siraj did well in the first phase and will lead the pace attack.