Virat Kohli to open the innings against Rajasthan Royals.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have shifted Virat Kohli to the top of the order ahead of their IPL 2022 match against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Tuesday, 26 April. Skipper Faf du Plessis reasoned that the team wanted to “free” up the former captain and be the best version of himself in the second half of the season.
Batting at No. 3 this season, Kohli has scored just 48 runs at a paltry average of 17. He recorded golden ducks in the last two matches, marking a new low amid more than two years of start-stop form without a century across formats.
His promotion comes at the expense of Anuj Rawat, the 22-year-old batter who opened alongside the skipper before this match but without much success. Middle-order batter Rajat Patidar has substituted him in the team. Du Plessis said he wants to see his captaincy predecessor in the thick of things as soon as possible.
“We have tried to stick as long as possible with giving guys a long run. So it’s also a way for us to give Virat [chances] right at the top of the order, getting him into the game as quickly as possible, and then hopefully free him up to be the best Virat Kohli that we know.”
The 33-year-old former Indian captain has always shuffled between the opening and No. 3 spots in the IPL. He has opened in 76 games, scoring 2750 runs at an average of 43.65 and a strike rate of 136.68. These numbers are better than his record at No. 3 – 2815 runs at 35.19 and a strike rate of 123.79. However, it will be interesting to see how RCB fill the crucial No. 3 spot for the remainder of the season.
RCB’s playing 11 with Virat Kohli as the opener
Faf du Plessis (c), Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Suyash Prabhudessai, Rajat Patidar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Harshal Patel, Wanindu Hasaranga, Josh Hazlewood and Mohammed Siraj.