Like the past eight seasons, this one too starts with much optimism which takes root in their current setup and mostly due to the confidence that an all-conquering Virat Kohli evokes with his mere presence. Shane Watson was their most expensive purchase of the IPL auction in February and along with him, they made a total of 11 smart signings which has further raised hopes of a title this time around. Not everything is on the up for the Bangalore-based outfit as their lead bowler Mitchell Starc will remain absent while they still sweat on spinner Samuel Badree’s shoulder injury.
They will start their endeavor against Sunrisers Hyderabad who finished third from the bottom on the points table last year. In their maiden season, SRH surprised everyone by reaching the playoffs but in the next two outings, finished sixth. In IPL 2015, their middle-order failed to build on the starts provided by the openers which prompted reinforcements in the form of Yuvraj Singh, Deepak Hooda and Aditya Tare. The bowling has been strengthened with the addition of left-arm pace duo of Ashish Nehra and Mustafizur Rahman. The concern should be the form of openers Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner who returned woeful numbers at the recently concluded World T20.
Venue: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
Date: April 12, 2016
Time: 20:00 IST
Weather: Mostly sunny with temperature ranging between 23 and 37 degree Celsius
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB have been troubled by two major injuries. Starc will be unavailable for the entire IPL as he recovers from a fractured foot while Badree was injured during World T20 final and is still not fit. In their absence, Adam Milne and Yuzvendra Chahal will have to step up and lead the attack. The bowling looks a bit weak due to the absence of Starc who took 20 wickets at an economy of 6.76 last season.
Probable XI: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Shane Watson, 3 AB de Villiers (wk), 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 Stuart Binny, 7 Yuzvendra Chahal, 8 Adam, Milne, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Iqbal Abdulla, 11 Varun Aaron
Like Bangalore, SRH too are also plagued by a major injury issue. Yuvraj Singh twisted his ankle during the WT20 and so has been ruled out of action for the first two weeks of the IPL. SRH, though, have tried filling the gaps that resulted in an average performance last year. Their strength lies in bowling which now has the services of top performers in Nehra and Mustafizur who have taken 18 and 16 wickets respectively since the start of 2016. Together with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, their top wicket-taker in IPL 8, and spinner Karn Sharma, they will pose a tough challenge to the star-studded batting line-up of RCB.
Probable XI: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 David Warner (capt), 3 Moises Henriques, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Naman Ojha/Aditya Tare (wk), 7 Ashish Reddy, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Karn Sharma, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Ashish Nehra
We got abundance of potential and talent in this team and if we play to our potential, we will achieve our goal which is to win the IPL,” – VVS Laxman, SRH mentor.
“It’s a bit strange to be here. My previous eight years have been with Rajasthan. I had a lot of fun with that franchise but to be able to come to Bangalore, it’s a huge privilege. The quality that RCB have, to play in such a beautiful stadium in Bangalore, so I feel very privileged to be able to play for this franchise.” – Shane Watson on playing for RCB.