After a long break of six months, Indian skipper Virat Kohli will be back on the field when he leads Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their opening game of the season against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Both the teams have shared a healthy rivalry in the past two seasons but with David Warner coming back as SRH’s captain, the things could be different this time.
The former Australia vice-captain has changed as a player but is expected to play an aggressive brand of cricket when he leads the side after two seasons. The third game of IPL 2020 will be played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai. The venue will be hosting its first game of IPL 2020.
Going into the contest, both the teams have problems of plenty and the captains will have to make some tough calls. Kohli is expected to continue to open the innings but he might have a new partner this time. Also, it remains to be seen if Aaron Finch is able to break into the playing XI.
In the bowling department, captain Kohli will have a tough call to make and a couple of Indian pacers might be seen warming the bench for most matches. There might be no such issues in the spin department, despite the franchise signing Adam Zampa. They have a number of spinners and Zampa might have to wait for his chance.
Coming to SRH, Warner’s return as captain could mean that Kane Williamson might have to sit out. Rashid Khan and Jonny Bairstow look automatic selections for now while Mohammad Nabi’s recent form makes him favorite to confirm a berth in the final XI.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead the pace attack and has a number of Indian international stars to back him. Rashid’s presence makes the spin department a heavy one.
Both teams have new coaching staff for IPL 2020. Mike Hesson, who coaches New Zealand to the final of the 2015 World Cup, is RCB’s Director of Cricket. His team includes Simon Katich, Adam Griffith, Sridharan Sriram, Shankar Basu, and others.
Trevor Bayliss, England’s World Cup-winning coach, replaced Tom Moody for IPL 2020. He will be assisted by former Australia wicketkeeper-batsman, Brad Haddin. VVS Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan were retained.
Warner-led Sunrisers Hyderabad is favorite to kick off the proceedings with a win. They have a strong opening pair, one of the greatest T20 bowlers, a star-studded pace-attack, and an IPL winning captain as their leader.