The Royal Challengers Bangalore have again been tipped as one of the favourites for the IPL 2016 title. Understandable, considering their batting strength. However, having flattered to deceive in the majority of the previous eight seasons, making a prediction on what path RCB will take this year is one fraught with danger.
So, taking all that into consideration, here we are predicting an RCB match, their first one of IPL 2016, against the equally-unpredictable Sunrisers Hyderabad (do take them with a grain of salt).
If RCB bat first: The Chinnaswamy Stadium is a chasing ground, with defending totals far from easy. So, chances are if Virat Kohli or David Warner wins the toss, they will want to bowl first. So then, if RCB end up batting first, it probably means Kohli lost the toss.
Chris Gayle and Kohli saunter into the batting middle, opening the batting for RCB. Ashish Nehra runs up with the new ball, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar given the white cherry at the other end. SRH decide to pick Mustafizur Rahman over Trent Boult. The pacers knock out two of top three of RCBâ€“ Gayle, Kohli and AB De Villiers â€“ but one remains in the middle. Take your pick of the three and that batsman forges a nice partnership with new recruit Shane Watson, before the lower middle order, led by Mandeep Singh, smashes a few to take RCB to a total of 170-odd.
SRH get their start in order with David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan driving, cutting and pulling quite well to set a nice platform for the rest. However, SRH lose the openers in a hurry, with Kane Williamson also unable to muster up enough runs. That leaves Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha and Moises Henriques with plenty still to do, but they manage to get over the line in the last over, with Hooda hitting the winning runs.
If SRH bat first: Warner and Dhawan get off to a strong start again, before Dhawan, inevitably, plays a poor shot to get out for 20-odd. Warner continues for a while with Kane Williamson, before the captain gets out as well, leaving Williamson to anchor the rest of the first innings. The New Zealander does that, with the likes of Hooda and Henriques chipping in with a few big hits. SRH end up making 165+.
With Kohli in the mood, RCB stay on course in the chase, despite losing Gayle early. De Villiers comes in and scores a quickfire 20, while Watson falls without troubling the scorers too much. That leaves Kohli to do the chasing, but then there is no better batsman in world cricket to do just that, is there. Kohli, with help from Mandeep Singh and Stuart Binny, sees RCB home with an over and a bit to spare, despite the best efforts of Mustafizur.