Once again, the Royal Challengers Bangalore flattered to deceive after an impressive run in the first half of the IPL 2020. At one point in time, they were on top of the table and looked good to seal one of the top two spots in the points table. Then suddenly, the team lost its way midway through the season. Luckily they made it to the playoffs on account of some fortune and previous wins.
But their happiness was cut short. They eventually crashed out of the tournament with their fifth consecutive loss when Sunrisers Hyderabad beat them in the Eliminator. In the end, another season culminated on a disappointing note for the Bangalore fans. And they will be hoping that their team gets their things right in the next season.
For a start, the franchise will have to do some smart buying in the upcoming auctions. They should abstain from that expensive buys, which ultimately harms their purse. Instead of that, they should tactically put their money on players who can help them build a balanced side for the IPL 2021. These players should be definitely on the wishlist of the franchise when they sit down at the auction table.
5 players RCB should target for IPL 2021 :
1) Jason Roy
The emergence of Devdutt Padikkal has been one of the biggest positives for the RCB in IPL 2020. The youngster showed great composure in most of his batting essays. He provided dynamic starts throughout the tournament. And in the process, he also ended up as the team’s highest run-getter in this season. That might make you think that Bangalore’s opening woes are all but over.
However, that is only partially correct. Because they are still searching for their second opener. In the recently concluded season, they tried out Aaron Finch in that position, but it didn’t work out that well. He scored a solitary half-century in 11 games when he opened the innings alongside Padikkal. And most of the time, his strike rate hovered around 110, not ideal in powerplays. That’s why RCB should try to bag in another international quality opener in the upcoming auctions.
For them, Jason Roy fits in that role perfectly. The England white-ball opener is an aggressive option at top of the order. He can give them rollicking starts. Besides, his presence will help Devdutt play his natural game, who is more of an innings builder rather than a power hitter. Roy can take on any bowling attacks, and that is what RCB needs at the top. His record is also mighty impressive as he has scored close to 6500 runs at a strike rate of 145 in 240 T20s.
2) Shakib Al Hasan
There is a reason why RCB is struggling to put up a settled batting unit even after having two of the elite batting talents, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in their ranks. And it is because the team has never found their crux in the middle-order. They just slot in ABD at the No.4 position and hope that he carries them in every possible situation. It works for half of the time owing to his superhuman abilities, but there are also days when he fails. At the time, it just looks miserable.
Interestingly, similar situations panned out in the IPL 2020. After a great start to the season, De Villiers lost the steam at the fag end of the tournament. And Bangalore’s campaign also derailed along with him. In the last five innings, he scored 160 runs at a strike rate of 125 compared to the 294 runs at a strike rate of 190 in the first nine outings. That drop in strike rate suggests that ABD needed someone to farm the middle-order with him in the latter half of the season. Hence, it’s time that RCB looks in for an experienced head to solve their middle-order problems.
And who better than Shakib Al Hasan, who has just completed his one-year ban. The Bangladesh cricketer’s exploits in the 2019 World Cup gives an idea of his growth as a batsman. He can bat at No.4 due to his dexterity to play spin and pace. Besides, it will allow De Villiers to bat at No.3 where he averages 50 in IPL. On top of that, he can also bowl in tandem with Yuzvendra Chahal in the middle-overs. All in all, Shakib can change the balance of this Bangalore side.
3) Carlos Brathwaite
Another problem for the Bangalore side which has been hindering them in all these years is the lack of a genuine power-hitter down the order. They just rely on AB de Villiers to provide that final impetus in the end overs. Thankfully for them, he does that consistently. And it was no different in IPL 2020 as he played the role of a finisher with great finesse. He crunched four half-centuries at a strike rate of almost 220 whenever he was in the middle in the overs between 16-20.
Sadly, the things change drastically when ABD gets out early. The likes of Gurkeerat Singh and Shivam Dube have been unable to provide that impact in the final overs. Their respective strike rates of 89 and 122 are enough to prove the point. Even their million-dollar all-rounder Chris Morris couldn’t do the job for them. Except for his 8-ball 25 against Kings XI Punjab, the South African scored a total of 9 runs in his other four outings. So it’s high time that the Virat Kohli-led side adds more muscle to their batting unit.
That’s why a player like Carlos Brathwaite should be one of their targets in the next year’s auctions. The West Indian can strike the ball a long way. His brute power will help RCB in giving those finishing touches to their innings. Brathwaite and De Villiers can tear apart any bowling attacks if they get together. Moreover, his bowling will be a bonus for RCB who have always struggled with their sixth bowling option in every season.
4) Liam Plunkett
For a change, the RCB team management will be relieved with the bowling performances of the side in IPL 2020. For the simple reason that in this season, there were times when Bangalore’s bowling unit outshined their batting unit. And in particular, the team will be happy with the progress of a couple of their young Indian pacers, Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini. They bowled inspiring spells at times and have also seemed to have learned from their past mistakes.
Having said that, there is still some work to be done, as now their senior fast bowlers are looking toothless. The duo of Umesh Yadav and Dale Steyn had a forgettable season. Both of them combined leaked runs at a rate of 12. Besides the termed death-over specialist, Chris Morris also didn’t live up to his price tag. Although he scalped 11 wickets in 9 games at a rate of 6.7, he remained wicketless on four of those occasions. And his injuries didn’t help the team either. Thus Bangalore needs a versatile fast-bowling option to boost their bowling attack ahead of the next season.
Looking at their needs, Liam Plunkett will be a valuable addition to their squad. The English pacer has been going through a good patch in white-ball cricket since 2017. Notably, he bowled some game-changing spells in the country’s 2019 World Cup-winning campaign. Plunkett may not have eye-catching numbers in T20s, but he can outfox the best of the batsmen with his pace and variations. It can be verified from this year’s T20 Blast, where he picked up seven wickets in 6 games, including a Man of the Match performance in the semi-finals.
5) Rohan Kadam
One of the things for which the Royal Challengers Bangalore has always been criticized is their utilization of the Indian domestic talents. There have never tried to build an Indian core, and the results are there to see. Fortunately, they did change their approach somewhat in IPL 2020 as they backed some Indian youngsters throughout the season. And the result is the rise of couple stars like Devdutt Padikkal and Washington Sundar, who have repaid the faith shown by the franchise. Similarly, they also backed another Indian domestic regular, Gurkeerat Singh, in the IPL 2020.
However, that move proved to be futile. The right-hander, who was trusted to support the team’s middle-order didn’t look comfortable in any of his batting stays. He scored mere 71 runs in his 5 outings. That too, with a shabby strike rate of 88. Those numbers are a clear indication that Gurkeerat may not be best suited for the T20s. Neither does he have the power game, nor he has the innovative shots in his repertoire to succeed in this format. So now RCB should look beyond him. In other words, the team should draft a player known for his T20 skill-set.
And for that, they don’t have to spend millions as they have a local hidden gem in the form of Rohan Kadam. The Karnataka cricketer came to the limelight with his magical run in the 2018-19 Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, where he scored over 500 runs in the tournament. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed as he was called for IPL trials by Mumbai Indians before the last auctions, but he chose Vijay Hazare Trophy ahead of the trials. It might be a blessing in disguise for RCB, and now they should bag him in the coming auctions without thinking too much.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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