Every season a lot of people put their money on the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Boasting of the trusted international specialists, the team walks out as the best team on paper every season. However, the scenario completely changes on-field as the team fails to deliver. This story has witnessed no change in the past 12 years.
Ahead of the season, the franchise owners changed their team logo, in a bid to change the fortunes as well. However, there need to be some tough calls from the team management as well, if the team has any chance of ending its title drought this year. There are many underrated players raring to go, who can help the team become a destructible force.
Such players need to be given more chances in the playing XI. Let us take a look at 5 such underrated players, who can turn out to be the match-winner for the team in this season.
Here’s the list:
1. Pawan Negi
Pawan Negi has been a part of various IPL franchises since his debut in 2012. However, the left-arm spin all-rounder is highly underrated. He played seven games last season but got to bowl only in four games. Except for one game, Negi was economical throughout, and also provided crucial breakthroughs.
Negi can form a match-winning pair with Yuzvendra Chahal. He can choke the runs from one end, which will help Chahal to scalp more wickets. The 27-year-old is the most experienced Indian spinner in the squad, which will also help the team while bowling on flat tracks of Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Negi deserves to get more frequent and consistent chances this season. He was recently injured in the DY Patil tournament when the ball hit his face, but the franchise would hope that he is fit soon.
2. Isuru Udana
Isuru Udana will be playing his maiden tournament this year, but not many favour him being given a chance over much more experienced Dale Steyn. However, the current form of both the players completely back Udana being the initial choice. Of late, the Sri Lankan pacer has been doing extremely well for his national team.
RCB always boasts the likes of Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini, who can chip in with wickets in the powerplay. However, the major concern for ages has been the death bowling, as opposition batsmen have taken the team’s bowlers on-demand in slog overs. Udana is a much better choice for the same since his variations and ability to change pace can work wonders for the team.
Thus, Virat Kohli should give Udana a go in the starting XI. With form on his side, he can prove to be a match-winner for the franchise and steer RCB to their maiden IPL title.
3. Devdutt Paddikal
Devdutt Padikkal smashed all records when he scored a fiery 60-ball-122 against Andhra Pradesh in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last year. The Karnataka-born player scored 580 runs at a strike-rate of 175, eventually emerging as the top-run scorer of the tournament. Undoubtedly, he is going through a purple patch at the moment.
The 19-year-old can be a perfect opener for the RCB. Padikkal can go for the kill instantly, which will help the franchise maximize the use of powerplay. This will also help to sort out the batting order since it will allow Virat to play at his natural number 3 position with AB De Villiers to follow.
However, he will be competing against a much more experienced Aaron Finch for the second opener’s slot. Being the home lad might go in Padikkal’s favour, but Finch has also been among runs in international cricket. Therefore, it would be interesting to see who gets the captain’s nod in the initial games.
4. Gurkeerat Singh Mann
One of the most underrated players, Gurkeerat showed what he is capable of in RCB’s final league game last year. Chasing 175 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the team’s top-order fell like a pack of cards as the team found itself reeling at 20-3. This was when Mann came to the team’s rescue, scoring a stroke-filled 48-ball-65 to help RCB sign off with a victory.
The 27-year-old Gurkeerat can play a vital role in the team’s lower middle order. Alongside Chris Morris and Shivam Dube, he can chip in with handy cameos for his side. Moreover, his off-spin bowling will be another plus point for the team.
Although he might have to warm the bench for the first half of the season, we might see him getting more chances if Shivam or Morris fail. His capabilities are second to none and we might find him turning into a match-winner for the franchise this season.
5. Washington Sundar
Washington Sundar had joined the franchise in 2018, on the back of his excellent outings in the previous season for now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiants. However, his performance in the previous two seasons has been a shadow of his economical and deadly bowling in 2017. Of late, he has featured for India in quite a few international games, with mixed outings.
Despite him struggling for his form, there is no doubt over Sundar’s abilities. Sadly, he hasn’t been given many chances by the management, as Moeen Ali and Yuzvendra Chahal have been the frontline spinners. However, he can turn out to be a match-winner for the franchise in IPL 2020, if given regular chances in the playing XI.
With the confidence and learnings of the international games, the off-spin all-rounder will come out as a much better player. Virat can use him to control runs in the powerplay and middle overs. Also, his batting abilities can turn the game on its head for the franchise.
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