The Royal Challengers Bangalore finally registered their first victory of this season by thrashing the Ravichandran Ashwin-led Kings XI Punjab side by eight wickets at Mohali on Saturday.
Put into bat first by the RCB skipper Virat Kohli, Punjab was off to a flyer as the openers posted a sixty six-run first wicket partnership in just 6.2 overs. A Chris Gayle masterclass (99* off 64 balls that included ten fours and five sixes) enabled the home side to post a healthy 173-4 in 20 overs.
Yuzvendra Chahal (2/33 in four overs), Moeen Ali (1/19 in four overs) and Navdeep Saini (0/23 in four overs) excelled with the ball for Kohli's men while Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav proved too costly.
Chasing 174 for their first win in seven matches, RCB lost opener Parthiv Patel in just the fourth over for 19 runs. Nevertheless, skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers joined hands and made sure the target was well within their reach with a solid 85-run second wicket partnership.
Half-centuries from these superstars and a late cameo from Marcus Stoinis helped RCB to chase down the target in 19.2 overs at the loss of just two wickets. This thumping win would have provided them with some much-needed momentum going into the next game against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.
RCB must address their key issues in order to defeat Mumbai in their own backyard and for that Kohli must make two big changes for the much-awaited clash. Let us look at two changes RCB must make in order to maintain their winning momentum by defeating Rohit Sharma's men at the Wankhede!
#1 Tim Southee in for Mohammed Siraj
Though Siraj has six wickets in seven matches he has played so far, his economy of 9.47 is a major cause of concern for Kohli and his men. Against Kings XI Punjab, the Hyderabad pacer went for 54 runs in four overs. Against a top-class batting line-up like the Mumbai Indians, Kohli might be forced to drop Siraj to bolster their pace armory.
The Royal Challengers who played with just three overseas players against Punjab might bring in the former Mumbai Indians player Tim Southee to replace Siraj. The Kiwi pacer played two seasons (2016 and 2017) for Mumbai before joining RCB last season. Southee's familiarity with the conditions might help RCB during the death overs.
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#2 Shivam Dube in for Akshdeep Nath
Though Akshdeep has been a part of the RCB XI in four matches so far this season, he got his only opportunity to bat during the encounter against Delhi Capitals at home. The Lucknow-born player, who has also represented the now-defunct Gujarat Lions and Kings XI Punjab, amassed 19 off 12 balls during that game and his knock comprised four fours.
Meanwhile, Dube, who made his IPL debut against Chennai Super Kings in the season opener has played three matches this season.
A lot was expected from the hard-hitting all-rounder after being bought for a whopping INR 5 crore at the 2018 auction. Unfortunately, he failed to make an impact in the three matches he played for RCB this season managing just 16 runs apart from failing to pick up a wicket.
Nevertheless, with the match to be played at the Wankhede, expect Kohli to include the Mumbaikar in the XI. Dube, who knows the conditions well might lend RCB the perfect balance by replacing Akshdeep against Mumbai Indians.
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