Prior to the start of the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League, Daniel Vettori, the head coach of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, was confident of success this season given the “balance of the side”, lent by the addition of all-rounders like Shane Watson and Stuart Binny.
However, in the six games that the side has contested so far, there has hardly been a balance between bat and ball. While the batting has dominated opposition one too many times, the bowling has been an utter let-down in equal measure.
Chris Jordan has been drafted in as Starc’s replacement, but whether he is included in the playing XI to boost the lacklustre bowling will depend on the combination that the team decides to go with. Watson has been crucial with the ball in the death, picking up timely wickets while scoring the odd runs in the middle. Tabraiz Shamsi, who replaced the injured Samuel Badree, has been a surprise and might be retained for his chinaman skills along with Richardson, who has been their frontline bowler so far. For Gayle to be included, one of them will have to make way, which might be a tough call given the impact they have had. It could make an interesting move to being in Stuart Binny for some variety.
Chris Lynn, who was the leading run-scorer at the Big Bash League for Brisbane, has played just one game for Kolkata so far and scored 10. In the absence of Manish Pandey, who has been ruled out with a bout of chicken pox, Lynn could fill into the No.3 slot with ease, given his exploits at the BBL.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (From): Virat Kohli(c), Lokesh Rahul(w), AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, Sachin Baby, Kedar Jadhav, Parvez Rasool, Varun Aaron, Harshal Patel, Kane Richardson, Tabraiz Shamsi, David Wiese, Vikramjeet Malik, Abu Nechim, Stuart Binny, Iqbal Abdulla, Sreenath Aravind, Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Milne, Vikas Tokas, Chris Gayle, Travis Head, Akshay Karnewar, Sarfaraz Khan, Praveen Dubey, Chris Jordan
Kolkata Knight Riders (From): Robin Uthappa(w), Gautam Gambhir(c), Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Rajagopal Sathish, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav, Sunil Narine, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Colin Munro, Sheldon Jackson, Manish Pandey, Manan Sharma, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Kuldeep Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat