SWOT Analysis: Bangalore, Punjab start afresh with new captains, personnel
Both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings have got new captains in Faf du Plessis and Mayank Agarwal. Barring the retained picks, both teams have gone for a reset in terms of personnel in batting as well as bowling. We dissect how these two teams look ahead of their opening match on Sunday evening.
Mumbai, March 27 (IANS) Both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings have got new captains in Faf du Plessis and Mayank Agarwal. Barring the retained picks, both teams have gone for a reset in terms of personnel in batting as well as bowling. We dissect how these two teams look ahead of their opening match on Sunday evening.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
There was a time when Bangalore's main strength was their batting. But this time around, it is a perennial weak-link, while bowling is emerging as a point of strength for them. They couldn't get back Yuzvendra Chahal but have got Sri Lanka's emerging leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, who has set the international stage on fire. Bangalore also have an Indian leg-spinner in Karn Sharma apart from left-arm spin of all-rounders Shahbaz Ahmed and Mahipal Lomror and handy part-time off-spin of Glenn Maxwell.
In the pace department, Mohammed Siraj and Harshal Patel will take up duties in power-play and final five overs respectively. Bangalore's overseas options are very impressive with Josh Hazlewood, Jason Behrendorff and David Willey providing control for the power-play overs. The back-up options in Siddarth Kaul and Chama Milind are decent.
With no Devdutt Padikkal and AB de Villiers now, Virat Kohli will have to pair up with new captain Faf du Plessis for the opening combination. With Kohli in lean patch of form and him as well as du Plessis having some vulnerabilities against spin, the pressure will be on the likes of Maxwell, Lomror, Dinesh Karthik, Anuj Rawat and Sherfane Rutherford to shine brightly in the middle order. Also, with du Plessis as captain, the flexibility in overseas slots gets removed.
Chance for Anuj Rawat to step up and do the job if he sneaks into the playing eleven. The Delhi-based left-hander is a stroke-player and one can hope that Rawat's move from Rajasthan Royals to Bangalore serves him well to showcase his abilities.
With the Australian trio of Maxwell, Behrendorff and Hazlewood expected to miss initial matches due to personal reasons, trip to Pakistan and rested from white-ball duties, Bangalore will have to find the balance which serves them well till the trio link up with the side. At the same time, Bangalore will be in trouble if they don't sort their top three combination with the bat.
It has a bevy of proven performers in T20 cricket. Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal make for an ideal left-right opening combination. Following them in the batting order will be experienced England players Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone with Shahrukh Khan and Odean Smith tasked with the job to finish well.
In acquiring the services of Kagiso Rabada, Punjab have got a huge asset in a pacer who can clock 140 kph and takes care of their bowling in the last five overs. Punjab will hope that left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh clicks well for them.
Other domestic pace options are Sandeep Sharma and Ishan Porel with an overseas player in Nathan Ellis. In spin bowling, Punjab have all bases covered in left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar, leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and Livingstone able to bowl off-spin as well as leg-spin.
In the highly experienced batting line-up of Punjab, there is a chain of monotony. In the top six, Dhawan is their only left-handed bat, which means it will be easy for the opposition to counter a right-handed heavy middle order. Also, for number six, they need to decide whether it will be filled by an Indian or overseas all-rounder. Moreover, Rabada has been pale in getting scalps in power-play and that puts pressure on Arshdeep.
Chance for young all-rounder Raj Bawa to continue his impressive run in 2022. He was the player of the match for his spell of 5/31 against England in the Men's U19 World Cup final this year. Before the final, Bawa had made an unbeaten 162 against Uganda, the highest individual score of the tournament. Bawa is a rare player in Indian cricket, a pace all-rounder who is a left-handed batter in the middle order.
Punjab's lack of new ball bowlers and monotony in the batting order may come back to hit them hard in the tournament. Also, Bairstow absent in initial and potentially, ending stages of the tournament means gap in middle order batting could lead to their downfall.