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IPL 2020, SRH vs RCB: Virat Kohli’s men looking to get past opening hurdle, bury memories of 2019 season

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Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore are hoping for a change in fortunes as they gear up for their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Monday, September 21. Since reaching the final in 2016, RCB have endured 3 horror seasons but with a revamped squad and support staff, they are hoping for a better season in the UAE.

Royal Challengers Bangalore finished with the wooden spoon twice in the last 3 seasons. Despite having some of the biggest names in world cricket, their on-field struggles has been a constant in the recent past.

Since reaching the final in 2016, RCB have not managed to win their opening games of the following 3 seasons. On Monday, they will face a stern test against David Warner-led Sunrisers Hyderabad, who look a well-oiled unit.

In fact, RCB lost their opening match to SRH in IPL 2017 by 35 runs. In 2018, it was Kolkata Knight Riders who proved to be their opening-day hurdle at the Eden Gardens.

Big starting trouble in 2019

The 2019 season was one of the worst seasons for Kohli’s men in the IPL. Their campaign got off to a horror start at the MA Chidambaram Stadium wherein they were bundled for 70 by Chennai Super Kings. The Bengaluru-based franchise did not recover from their opening-day hammering as they lost their next 5 on the trot. RCB finished at the bottom, winning only 5 of their 14 matches.

Nonetheless, as the new season kickstarts, RCB and Kohli are clear that they are not going to look at the past.

“It’s all about disconnecting with things that have happened in the past and not taking that baggage. We have done that too many times. Just because we have a bunch of players that are so skilled, people like seeing them play is the reason why people have had so much expectation as well,” Kohli had said in the lead up to IPL 2020.

“We are not going to think of what-ifs, we know what we can do as a team. And we’re just very, very keen and hungry to go out there and do it.”

RCB have done better homework than the previous seasons in the lead up to IPL 2020. At the auction table, they looked to plug holes that were hurting them in the past.

They bought Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch who not only provides explosive ability at the top but also brings in a lot of experience to the leadership group. In Dale Steyn and Chris Morris, RCB have proven match-winners while the addition of Isuru Udana and Chris Green add variety to the side.

Sunrisers are going to be a tough test for them on the opening day, but if RCB are able to collect 2 points, it will give them the much-needed momentum at the start of IPL 2020.



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