Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore are both expected to go all out against each other on Monday to arrest their rapid slide in the IPL and, more importantly, secure a top-two finish in the points table.
DC and RCB go into the virtual quarterfinal, having lost four and three games on the trot respectively, showing that things can change rather quickly in the highly-competitive IPL.
At stake is a top-two finish which provides a couple of attempts to make it to the final. The loser of Monday’s game could still end up making the play-offs but it will be then at the mercy of other teams.
DC, who were bossing most teams in the first half of the tournament, has had a dramatic fall from grace with their last win coming two weeks ago. Their batsmen have come a cropper since then and the bowling doesn’t look as potent as it was in the first half.
Problems started with DC unable to find a stable combination at the openers’ slot. Both Prithvi Shaw and Ajikya Rahane have been paired up with Shikhar Dhawan but either of them has not provided the much-needed consistency.
In fact, Dhawan, who was flying high with back-to-back hundreds, has managed 0, 0, 6 in the last three games.
The Delhi-based team relies heavily on the big-hitting from Rishabh Pant in the middle-order but with 274 runs at a strike-rate of 112.29, he is yet to find his mojo.
After a nine-wicket hammering against Mumbai Indians on Saturday, skipper Shreyas Iyer spoke on the need for a fearless approach.
“We’ll have to think about it (changes to the line-up) and be fearless in our approach. We’ll keep things simple and will not try to think much,” he said.
RCB too are smarting from a string of losses, most recently against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday. The three losses on the trot has reignited the debate on the team’s dependency on its star players — Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Both Kohli and De Villiers didnt fire in the last two games, resulting in heavy defeats. Josh Phillipe has shown promise at the top of the order after replacing Aaron Finch but needs to convert starts into substantial outings.
As the weather gets cooler in the UAE, dew is proving to be a major factor in the game. Considering the prevailing conditions, teams are opting to field with dew making batting much easier in the second half of the game.
It was something that was acknowledged by Kohli after RCB’s loss to SRH.
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Kagiso Rabada, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Tushar Deshpande, Rishabh Pant, Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel (wk), Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Pawan Negi, Isuru Udana, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Pavan Deshpande, Adam Zampa.
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