Chris Gayle should return to the playing XI for RCB when they play the Sunrisers Hyderabad an in IPL 2016 game on Saturday. Gayle missed RCB's last three matches after flying back to the Caribbean to be with his newborn daughter.
In those last three matches, RCB won just one, against the Rising Pune Supergiants. Not that RCB have missed Gayle too much, because scoring runs hasn't been a problem for Virat Kohli's side. Led by the captain himself and AB De Villiers, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have racked up runs, runs and more runs, but when it has come to defending, more often than not, the bowlers have failed to deliver â€“ but, to be fair, that can be said of most bowling attacks in this IPL 2016.
Bowling remains a concern for RCB, with only Shane Watson â€“ what a great buy he has been â€“ showing any kind of consistency with the white cherry in his hand. With Gayle coming in, you expect him to go right back into the playing XI, which means one of the overseas bowlers -- Kane Richardson or Tabraiz Shamsi â€“ will have to sit out.
Shamsi has been pretty good in the two matches he has played, while Richardson has picked up a few crucial wickets, even if he has been on the expensive side. With Watson and De Villiers undroppable, one of Richardson and Shamsi will have to sit the game out against the Sunrisers, assuming of course Gayle, who hasn't fired in this IPL 2016 so far, walks right back into the lineup.
With Gayle back at the top, RCB, who beat the Sunrisers in the reverse fixture in Bangalore earlier in IPL 2016, will have to make a decision on their wicketkeeper â€“ KL Rahul or Kedar Jadhav. If Richardson sits out, one of the Indian fast bowlers will come in, be that Harshal Patel or Varun Aaron. Chris Jordan has been named as the replacement for Mitchell Starc, but this game might come too early for the Englishman.
The Sunrisers had a really disappointing outing in their last match, with the batting failing to fire again, the moment David Warner went early. The sooner Kane Williamson and Yuvraj Singh return from injury the better for SRH, who really are struggling for stability in the middle order. However, for this game against RCB, it looks like they will have to stick with the same playing XI, in terms of their batting, unless they decide to bench Aditya Tare for Ashish Reddy.
In the bowling department, while Ashish Nehra did not have a great outing on return from injury, the veteran left-armer is likely to keep his place in the team. Bipul Sharma, though, could make way for Karn Sharma, the legspinner who sat out the last few matches after being smashed all over the park in the early stage of IPL 2016.
Expected playing XI: SRH: David Warner (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Aditya Tare, Eoin Morgan, Deepak Hooda, Moises Henriques, Naman Ojha, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Mustafizur Rahman.
RCB: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli (C), AB De Villiers, Shane Watson, KL Rahul, Sarfaraz Khan, Stuart Binny, Iqbal Abdulla, Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Aaron, Tabraiz Shamsi.