The match no. 31 between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders surprisingly proved to be a one-sided contest as Eoin Morgan's side absolutely outplayed their opponents to win the match by 9 wickets, with 10 overs remaining. It was a forgettable evening for Virat Kohli and Co. in Abu Dhabi and they would certainly want to get over it as soon as possible. However, after a defeat like this, it was expected that RCB will come under scrutiny for some of the selections that they made for this match.
Interestingly, there were three IPL debutants on display in this clash. While KKR's decision to play Venkatesh Iyer proved to be a major success as he played an unbeaten knock (47* off 27), things did not turn out the same way for RCB. Both their debutants, KS Bharat and Wanindu Hasaranga, had a disappointing outing and fans were expectedly unhappy.
Mike Hesson opens up on inclusion of KS Bharat
Although the inclusion of Wanindu Hasaranga was understood considering the recent performances of Sri Lankan all-rounder in international cricket, everyone was very surprised to see wicketkeeper batsman KS Bharat playing his first game for the franchise on Monday. Despite the availability of domestic talents like Rajat Patidar and Shahbaz Ahmed, who played for RCB in first half of the season, the franchise opted to play Bharat.
With so much speculations, RCB's coach Mike Hesson revealed the actual reason behind his selection in post-match conference on Monday. The 46-year-old revealed that they want to take care of AB de Villiers for remainder of the season, reflecting the fact that Bharat's inclusion in the side was to take away the workload of wicketkeeping from the shoulders of ABD.
It looked a sensible call from the franchise as AB de Villiers has also been out of action for some time and he would not want to take so much pressure on himself, by performing the duties behind the stumps as well.
Will RCB stick to the same formula?
It will be interesting to see if RCB will continue with KS Bharat, who struggled with the bat and could score only 16 runs off 19 deliveries. Considering the fact that none of their batsmen actually got going, it would be unfair to drop the wicketkeeper after one failure only. However, if the franchise wishes to prevent ABD from wicketkeeping, they do have one more exciting option in form of Mohammed Azharuddeen who can also keep wickets.