Match 15, RCB vs RR – Gopal’s bunnies and Jofra Archer’s usage in the middle overs

Can AB de Villiers and Kohli survive Shreyas Gopal on Saturday?

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Abu Dhabi will host a ‘Royal’ battle on Saturday in the IPL 2020 which will be the first afternoon match of the tournament. Both Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore have got four points in three matches and would be looking to earn two more points and top the points table. There are a couple of world-class batters in both the line-ups and their skill will be tested in Abu Dhabi where dew factor won’t come into the equation in the afternoon.

Gopal factor for the Royals

Shreyas Gopal has an ordinary start to the IPL 2020 but could find his feet going on Saturday where he will be facing Royal Challengers Bangalore. The two start batters in the RCB line-up, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, are currently going through contrasting batting forms. Kohli is yet to score a boundary in three matches this IPL while De Villiers has two fifties and a score of 28 during a defeat.

Gopal has had great success against RCB in the past two seasons, especially against De Villiers and Kohli. The leg-spinner dismissed the two legendary batters seven times collectively in four matches. Kohli struggled against Rahul Chahar in the previous match against MI while De Villiers also had issues facing the wrist spinners in the recent past. Hence, Steve Smith could be seen saving Gopal for the RCB’s power pair.

How Jofra can be used effectively?

Having 2-3 overs of Jofra Archer for the death is a luxury any team would like to have in the T20 format. However, Archer’s bowling in the early phases could well decide the fate of the match. In the IPL, Archer has an economy of 6.03 in the powerplay and an average of 18.1 during the middle overs. In the game against KKR, Jofra bowled the first over of the game and a couple of overs between 11th and 15th due to the presence of Andre Russell.

This move might not be a bad one for Steve Smith and co if the England pacer could get through someone like AB de Villiers before the important final 4-5 overs. De Villiers could be hurried by Jofra’s pace and a bouncer to him early in the inning could neutralize the threat. RCB doesn’t have a reliable hitter once De Villiers gets out and hence a move of bowling Archer early vs RCB can work big time.

Can Udana fill Morris’ boots?

Isuru Udana is considered as a back-up option for Chris Morris in the RCB line-up. The Sri Lankan pacer had a decent start to his IPL career picking up two wickets on debut despite conceding 40 odd runs. Udana is an effective customer with cutters and can bowl yorkers at the death. He might not be offer better than what Morris could do for RCB but on a slow track like Abu Dhabi, he could turn crucial against the Royals.

Not giving pace on the ball to the Rajasthan Royals’ batters on slightly bigger boundaries could well work in RCB’s favour. Udana has a pretty good record in the UAE when it comes to the T20 format. Across 11 T20s played in UAE, the left-arm pacer claimed 20 wickets including a 4-wicket haul. In two T20Is at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Udana has got an economy rate of only 5.

(Stats as on October 2, 2020)

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