DUBAI: Assured of a play-off berth, Royal Challengers Bangalore will look to quickly recover from their loss in the previous game and finish the league phase on a high when they take on table-toppers Delhi Capitals in their final IPL round-robin game here on Friday.
While the Delhi side (20 points from 13 matches) has made sure of a top-two finish, a defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday night has dented RCB’s chances of ending second in the points table.
With 16 points and an inferior net run-rate to second-placed Chennai Super Kings, RCB’s hopes of a top-two finish has reduced after losing to SRH.
However, skipper Virat Kohli will keep an eye on the result of the CSK-Punjab Kings match on Thursday to get a clear idea about how to go about in their final match to snatch the second spot, which appears a tough task to say the least.
Despite possessing a formidable batting line-up that includes AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Devdutt Padikkal apart from Kohli, RCB couldn’t chase down a below-par 141-7 against SRH and they would need to sort out their batting before entering the knockout stage.
Maxwell has been in scintillating form for RCB after a moderate run in 2020 and can turn things around single-handedly as can de Villiers. The Australian power-hitter has 447 runs with five 50s and will want to continue the good run, while de Villiers hasn’t quite had the impact he would have liked to.
If Kohli can get off to a strong start at the top alongside the impressive Padikkal, the powerful middle-order can do a lot of damage. RCB’s bowling unit too have done well with the likes of Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel and George Garton doing the job in the pace department.
In spin department, Yuzvendra Chahal has overcome his past struggles with some very impressive spells this season, while Shahbaz Ahmed too has kept things in check for his team.
The Rishabh Pant-led Delhi team, on the other hand, has been in formidable form, winning four of the last five matches and will look to end things on a high in the league phase before going into the qualifier.
Skipper Pant has come in for criticism for being over-aggressive and it has to be seen if he shows a sense of restraint and makes bigger contributions. DC has a strong batting line-up despite the inconsistency of Prithvi Shaw, who most often seems to blow hot and cold while Shikhar Dhawan (501 runs from 13 innings) has shown his value at the top.
Shreyas Iyer and Pant too have rescued the team few times but they will seek more consistency. Delhi has a potent bowling attack.
While South African pacer Anrich Nortje has breathed fire and is a constant threat, his compatriot Kagiso Rabada and Avesh Khan (second in the wicket-takers list with 22 scalps) have been at the batsmen all the time.
The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel (14 wickets) also have not been easy to get away.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), Navdeep Saini, Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian, Rajat Patidar, Dushmantha Chameera, Pavan Deshpande, Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Sachin Baby, Wanindu Hasaranga, George Garton, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shahbaz Ahmed, Devdutt Padikkal, Kyle Jamieson, Suyash Prabhudessai, KS Bharat, Tim David, Akash Deep, AB de Villiers.
Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Ripal Patel, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimrom Hetmyar, Shreyas Iyer, Steve Smith, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, Ben Dwarshuis, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Kulwant Khejroliya, Lukman Meriwala, Pravin Dubey, Tom Curran, Umesh Yadav, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sam Billings and Vishnu Vinod.
Match starts at 7:30 PM IST.