Ahead of the eliminator, Gautam Gambhir has opined that RCB should go back to the opening partnership of Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch, with Kohli at No.3. Alongside that, Tom Moody also stated that he would be shocked if Sunrisers won’t be choosing to chase after winning the toss.
After the breezy qualifier on Thursday, when a dominant Mumbai Indians steamrolled past the Delhi Capitals, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are taking on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the eliminator, which would set the winners up for a date with Delhi Capitals. While there have been several questions regarding RCB’s opening pair, should they promote their skipper as the opener, former KKR opener Gautam Gambhir has opined that Virat Kohli should bat at No.3.
Instead, the southpaw cited that RCB should make the fullest use of the experience of Aaron Finch at the top of the order, alongside the young Devdutt Padikkal, who has already had the best season for a debutant. Gambhir also added that in case of RCB going with an overseas batsman, they would have to open with him at the top of the order, and Finch, according to him fits the bill.
“It’s not about just Virat Kohli, other players too has to contribute for RCB. I think Devdutt Padikkal has just done a fabulous job for RCB. If they are playing another overseas player, the overseas player has to open. Virat Kohli has to bat at No.3, just because he is the skipper and you want to optimise him, you can’t make him open. Personally, Finch should return to the playing XI,” said Gambhir in ESPNCricinfo’s preview.
Former SRH coach Tom Moody wasn’t far off agreeing with Gambhir’s opinion, adding that they either pick Aaron Finch and make him open the innings or go with Moeen Ali as the opener, which would give them a good combination.
“You look at the numbers, Kohli clearly prefers to open the batting but I ultimately agree with Gautam, either they pick Finch instead of Josh Philippe or use Moeen Ali as the option. They got to have to find out the best combination. Kohli batting at 1,2 or 3 won’t really make a big difference.”
Barring the opening wicket conundrum, toss would also play a crucial role for both the teams, with dew going on to play a big factor in the background. However, both Gambhir and Moody were adamant that the franchisees should not worry too much about the dew and control and the controllable. Moody, in specific, admitted that he would be shocked to see Sunrisers not chase.
“I will be shocked if Sunrisers won’t be chasing, given the statistics. However, I agree with Gautam that you have to eliminate the toss factor and just play your best cricket. You have coping mechanisms in play and just stick to the plans.” added Moody.