Why Singapore's Tim David Should Slot Straight Into RCB's Playing XI

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Royal Challengers Bangalore would be delighted with their performance in the first half of IPL 2021 as they won five out of their seven matches and secured the third spot in the table before the tournament came to a halt due to COVID-19 cases within the bio-bubble.

They would want to carry that form into the second leg as the action resumes in the UAE on 19 September. But they know that the job won’t be easy considering how things turned out in the last season.

RCB were in a similar situation at the halfway stage in IPL 2020 but they finished the league stage with four losses in a row and went on to lose the eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad as well, thus making it five defeats in a row before being knocked out of the tournament.

Kohli and co won most of their matches in the first half of IPL 2021 owing to the superb batting form of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, who kept scoring runs consistently at No.4 and 5 respectively. However, RCB ended up losing the two matches in which the duo failed to do well. The batters that followed after them at No.6 or lower couldn’t do much either and that gave a glimpse of what can happen if the middle-order duo of Maxwell and de Villiers do go through a poor run of form. It could end up being a déjà vu of last season all over again.

However, the break induced by the COVID-19 pandemic gave the RCB think-tank an opportunity to plug some major holes and make some much-needed structural changes to the squad. With players pulling out of the second leg owing to bio-bubble fatigue, Mike Hesson and co have named some worthy replacements among whom is a certain 25-year-old Tim David, the first player from Singapore to earn an IPL contract.

Also Read: Plans Reworked, Teams Revamped: How Every IPL Team Will Alter Plans for UAE

What Makes Tim David So Special?

David has been a consistent performer in that lower middle-order role in various T20 Leagues he has played around the world during the course of the last one year and that’s why he seems to be the right candidate to take up that role at RCB as well.

It’s not just one match or one league. Things started to change for David after some stellar performances in the last Big Bash League season and he has followed that up with equally good outings in the Pakistan Super League and Caribbean Premier League as well.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Tim David’s performance in three major T20 leagues in the last 12 months</p></div>

Tim David’s performance in three major T20 leagues in the last 12 months

It’s not only David’s power and rapid scoring rate that makes him such an attractive asset in a lower middle-order role. If you look at the numbers above, he has maintained an average of 30+ in each of the three leagues, which were played in totally different conditions. So, it’s not only the flair and firepower, but it’s also the reliability and consistency that makes David such a good player in this role.

In fact, he has played some of the most unbelievable knocks by a middle-order batter in the span of this one year. David has found himself in tricky situations on numerous occasions, but he has dug his team out of trouble and got them to a respectable score in each of those instances.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Some of Tim David’s best batting performances in the last 12 months</p></div>

Some of Tim David’s best batting performances in the last 12 months

Also Read: IPL 2021: Overseas Cricketers Who Will be Making Their Debut This Season

Every time David has found himself in adverse situations, it has brought the best out of him. He has pulled off one rescue act after another and has displayed supreme batting skills and temperament in times of crisis.

David’s 36-ball knock of 64 against Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL has been his best knock during this period. Walking out to bat with the team at 25/4, David not only maintained his reliable presence at the crease but also showed the courage to go for his shots and keep the scoring rate up. He showed how to turn a situation of crisis into an opportunity as he played a stellar and mature knock to propel the Lahore Qalandars to a total of 170/8, something that seemed like a distant dream until his arrival at the crease.

The 25-year-old hasn’t shown any major weakness against any type of bowling either. He has appeared equally good against both pace and spin bowling, which sums up the kind of success he has had of late.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Tim David’s performances against pace and spin in BBL 2020-21, PSL 2021 and CPL 2021 combined</p></div>

Tim David’s performances against pace and spin in BBL 2020-21, PSL 2021 and CPL 2021 combined

On doing a deeper analysis, however, it appears that his average (26) and strike-rate (120.9) against off-spinners is his lowest against all bowling types, but that is something that he or the RCB setup wouldn’t worry much about during the course of IPL 2021.

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How Will Tim David’s Presence Help RCB’s Batting Unit?

David will be playing more of a death-overs role with the bat, a situation in which spinners are hardly seen bowling. Even if they do or he ends up facing them in case of an early collapse, that’s a match-up he would love to concede in order to take advantage of other bowlers.

His numbers and performances show how important an asset he could become for RCB in this second leg. He provides them with a much-needed cushion behind de Villiers and Maxwell. The duo can play even more freely, and it will lessen the burden on them a lot if they know that a capable batter like David is slated to follow them next at No.6. After all, 574 of David’s 737 runs in the BBL, CPL and PSL combined have come at this position, at an outstanding average of 41 and a terrific strike-rate of 164.

But David’s inclusion in the Playing XI now depends on RCB’s choice of overseas players. Maxwell, de Villiers and Kyle Jamieson were the first three overseas choices for RCB in the first half, with Dan Christian being the fourth option in most matches. Ideally, David could have slotted into the void created by Christian’s withdrawal from the IPL, but the management has also hired a reliable all-rounder like Wanindu Hasaranga now who has high chances of slotting into the XI as well.

Hasaranga’s wrist-spin could be very useful in the UAE conditions and he also provides depth to the XI with his batting. Jamieson can bat too, and he did a decent job with both bat and ball in the first leg as well.

So, it won’t come as a surprise if Maxwell, de Villiers, Jamieson and Hasaranga are the four overseas players RCB go with. But they must keep in mind that none of them are better batters than David and their presence won’t provide their middle-order the assurance they need. It’s only David who can strengthen this department and better their chances of going all the way into the final. That’s why RCB should bring him straight into the XI without any second thoughts.

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