On Sunday, Virat Kohli’s RCB will face KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings in Sharjah (RCB vs PBKS). The Royal Challengers Bangalore are just one win away from qualifying for the IPL 2021 playoffs, whereas Punjab Kings have kept their qualifying prospect alive with a five-wicket win over KKR and will need to push hard , requiring two wins in two encounters.
Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore are almost through to the IPL 2021 playoffs, sitting third in the league standings with 14 points in eleven games. Following back-to-back defeats in the UAE leg, RCB played as a cohesive unit in the last two games, winning both against the defending champions, the Mumbai Indians, and the Rajasthan Royals. They will be looking for their third win in a row to solidify their chances of finishing in the top three, as well as not losing momentum at this crucial stage of the tournament.
Playing Hasaranga and Chameera, especially against PBKS, which has a couple of batsmen who are wary of fast googlies and high pace can help the RCB's bowling unit a lot. In addition to this, Hasaranga is an effective powerplay wrist-spinner and PBKS have two right handed openers versus him. Chameera brings high pace to their bowling unit, which has only one bowler who can hit 140+ speeds but does not hit the deck as hard as him.
Chameera bowls at a fast pace with incisive new ball bowling, hitting the deck hard, deceptive slower ball, and wide yorkers on his best days.
HOW TO STOP KL RAHUL AND MAYANK AGARWAL ?
Mayank Agarwal the PBKS opener has averaged 41.3 and struck in excess of 140s doing the heavy lifting for his team and allowing his partner KL Rahul to settle and smash pace bowlers. Since 2018 against RCB the PBKS captain averages 102.5 and strikes at 156. Getting these two will be the key for RCB bowlers.
Against Mayank the RCB wrist spinners can try bowling googlies against which Mayank Agarwal averages just five, getting out thrice for just 17 runs. Another option could be exploiting Mayank Agarwal’s weak backfoot game and bowling bouncers at him early on in the innings.
RCB pacers must be at their most accurate against KL Rahul, bowling straight or outside off line in the powerplay and attempting to hit a mix of back of length and good length areas, where he strikes at just 88 and 105 respectively. Another option is to bring in Hasaranga, whose googly has been difficult for many players around the world, including Rahul, to pick or put away.
Another key Punjab Kings player who RCB bowler should come all planned against is Nicholas Pooran. The best way to get him out is bowling high pace and short into the body trying to cramp him up.
GAME PLAN FOR PUNJAB KINGS for RCB vs PBKS
One particular phase the Punjab Kings should really be concerned about against RCB is the powerplay, where their inexperienced pacers could be up against two openers who have finally been taking the bowling on in the powerplay. This IPL only the Delhi Capitals duo have a better average and strike-rate than Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal.
Since the resumption, Virat Kohli has averaged 92 and struck at 148 in the PP and given how damaging he can be in the powerplay PBKS bowlers must ensure they are at their best and well planned when coming against him. Since 2019 Virat Kohli averages just 20.5 against left arm pacers and strikes at just 117 versus them in the PP. The PBKS captain could encourage Arshdeep Singh to target the fourth stump line versus the RCB skipper.
Their pacers could also try bowling more back of length and short stuff at Virat Kohli as he averages only 17 versus back of length pace in the powerplay since IPL 2018 and only strikes at 111 vs short length. In addition the PBKS skipper could also bowl a few overs of Ravi Bishnoi’s leg-spin (read googly) at Virat Kohli.
Against Devdutt Padikkal, the Punjab Kings pacers should try and challenge his judgement outside off-stump and also try to bowl short quick bouncers at him to test the opener.