This is how I predict the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals will go in the 2020 edition of the IPL.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB ended at the bottom of the table last season. The reason behind it was their death bowling. Therefore, they had to make many changes in their team. However, they showed confidence in their Indian bowlers and retained them and did not trade them this season.
Instead, they bought two extra players who can bowl at the death. Further, they made changes in their coaching staff as well. They have now Mike Hesson, who earlier coached Kings XI Punjab, and Simon Katich, who earlier coached the Kolkata Knight Riders.
In the top order, they have Australian limited-overs captain Aaron Finch, who will open this year with Devdutt Padikkal. This will create a left-right combination to make it a little tricky for the opposition. Last year they opened with Parthiv Patel, but it seems like they will play this young talent Padikkal.
AB de Villiers will be keeping for the team. Further, if De Villiers is unable to keep wickets in between the season, they have another fine Aussie keeper in Joshua Philippe, who can bat too. Therefore, it seems like Parthiv will have to warm the benches for the majority of the season, unless some injuries occur, then he may get a chance to play more.
Further, in the middle order, they have Virat Kohli, De Villiers, Moeen Ali, Chris Morris, Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar. Morris is a good inclusion, as he can play as a finisher and can also bowl at the death. Moreover, in back-up, they have Pawan Negi and Gurkeerat Singh, who have enough IPL experience too.
In bowling, they have got another death bowling specialist this year: Isuru Udana from Sri Lanka. The rest is the same unit they had last year. Udana is a good buy, as he can bat too if required. However, he will get a chance to play only if Ali or Morris does not perform better.
Therefore, the probable playing XI of the team for this season could be Aaron Finch, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Moeen Ali, Chris Morris, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Therefore, they have got a good chance to be in the top four in the points table, if their bowlers perform better than the last season.
The Rajasthan Royals finished seventh on the points table in IPL 2019. The reason behind it was the big names in the team did not fire much.
For this year, they have traded Ajinkya Rahane to the Delhi Capitals and in return they bought two wrist spinners: Rahul Tewatia and Mayank Markande. Further, they also traded Krishnappa Gowtham and in return bought Ankit Rajpoot from Kings XI Punjab.
Moreover, Jos Buttler looked in good touch in the T20Is against Australia, which is a good indication for the team. However, Steve Smith struggled to fire in that series and Ben Stokes may not be available for the first half of the IPL.
The other issue is players like Smith, Buttler, Tom Curran and Jofra Archer will not be available for the first match, as they will be under quarantine after returning from England. Therefore, we may not see four overseas players playing in the first game.
This year for opening, they have purchased a young under-19 talent Yashasvi Jaiswal, who will open with Jos Buttler. Further, it will give them the option of a left-right combination. In the back-up, they have Manan Vohra and Robin Uthappa. Both of them might get to play the first match.
In the middle, they already had Sanju Samson, Smith, Stokes and Riyan Parag. This year they have added David Miller, who will be useful in batting in the absence of Stokes. Moreover, they have many Indian all-rounders in back-up, one of whom will be in the playing XI. My pick is 32-year-old Aniruddha Joshi from Karnataka, who can play the role of the finisher.
In bowling, they have many options this year. They have added Tom Curran and Andrew Tye, who can bowl the death overs. However, if Buttler, Smith and Miller or Stokes are playing, only one from Archer, Curran and Tye can play. Therefore, there will be huge pressure on the Indian bowlers to perform to maintain their team combination.
Hence, the probable playing XI could be Yashaswi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Steve Smith (C), Sanju Samson (WK), Riyan Parag, David Miller, Aniruddha Joshi, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Varun Aaron and Jaydev Unadkat.
Therefore, to win matches, the team will have to maintain this combination. Frequent changes will not help them move ahead in the tournament.