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IPL 2020 | Should RCB open with Virat Kohli in Eliminator tie against SRH?

Kohli enjoys batting with fielding restrictions, having scored 2339 runs at 47.7 as an opener in his IPL career at a strike rate of 140.8 with 12 half-centuries and three centuries.

Aratrick Mondal Aratrick Mondal
New Delhi Published on: November 06, 2020 13:41 IST
RCB skipper Virat Kohli
Image Source : IPLT20.COM

RCB skipper Virat Kohli

One problem that has been a constant for Royal Challengers Bangalore this season has been their struggle in the middle overs where they have been scoring runs at an average of 7.17 per over, the worst for any team this season. Despite the issue, they won seven of their first 10 matches, but towards the fag end, the go-slow approach between overs 7 and 15, began to hurt their death-over scoring rate as they managed scores of 44/4, 35/4, 27/3 and 49/5 in their last four matches, all of which he lost. 

As it seems, their skipper Virat Kohli has been among the culprits for RCB sluggish middle-over batting where he has a strike rate of 110.1, the fourth-worst among all batters who have faced at least 100 balls between overs 7 and 15. He has faced 248 balls during this phase, scoring 273 runs with five dismissals in 12 innings. 

With RCB's also suffering in the opening department, pertaining to the partner of Devdutt Padikkal, Kohli might want to promote himself at the top of the order. And it definitely won't be something new for Kohli. He enjoys batting with fielding restrictions, having scored 2339 runs at 47.7 as an opener in his IPL career at a strike rate of 140.8 with 12 half-centuries and three centuries. The corresponding numbers are lower when he bats at any other position - 3105 runs at 34.4 with a strike rate of 127.4. 

This means Josh Philippe would have to sit out given his struggle against spin if slotted into the middle order. RCB can bring in Moeen Ali instead, who registered a strike rate of 189.7 during RCB's 2018 campaign in the middle overs and 158.2 in the following year. Overall, he has a strike rate of 160.5 during that phase in his IPL career and 170.6 in his T20 career. Moreover, his adept at facing right-arm legspinners and slow-left-arm orthodox, the two varieties he will encounter against Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem. Moeen has a T20 strike rate of 185.5 against leggies and 172.4 against left-arm offies. 

This tactic will mean RCB will have AB de Villiers reserved for the death-overs where he has a strike rate of 215 in his T20 career, and 226.6 for this IPL season, scoring 247 runs in 109 balls. This could in turn help him escape Rashid Khan who has dismissed him twice in 25 balls. 

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