Dubai: It will be a battle between equals when two top IPL teams — Delhi Capitals (DC) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) — square-off at the Dubai International cricket stadium here on Monday.
Both teams have six points each, but on net run rate DC were ahead of RCB till the start of the Mumbai Indians-SunRisers Hyderabad match on Saturday. Both Mumbai and Hyderabad had four points each before their game began, and by the end of their match, the equation on the points table could alter.
Delhi and Bangalore are fresh from wins on Saturday. While the Virat Kohli-led RCB side thrashed Rajasthan Royal (RR), the Shreyas Iyer-captained DC defeated KKR by 18 runs.
Both contests saw their respective skippers leading from the front. After three below-par shows, Kohli regained his touch and played a fantastic unbeaten 72-run knock, helping his side register their third win of the league. Similarly, Iyer’s blitzkrieg (unbeaten 88 off 38) propelled DC to a massive 228/4 against KKR before their bowlers defended the target to set up their third win.
The DC top-order, barring Shikhar Dhawan, looks in sublime touch and has explosive Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer in their arsenal for late fireworks. DC stumper Rishabh Pant also showed signs of getting the form back after he dusted off his rustiness with a 17-ball 38-run cameo on Saturday.
Dhawan (26 off 16) started his innings well against KKR but the left-hander failed to convert it.
In bowling, Kagiso Rabada will once again spearhead the pace attack along with compatriot Anrich Nortje, who bowled a decent penultimate over against KKR. Rabada was expensive against KKR. However, the South African quick knows how to rectify errors.
Ravichandran Ashwin and leggie Amit Mishra, who were amongst runs against KKR, will share the spin workload but the entire DC bowling unit needs to be very careful against a side that boasts some quality power-hitters of the T20 format.
RCB, on the other hand, have young Devdutt Padikkal along with Aaron Finch at the top. The youngster was quite impressive against RR and the 20-year-old sits at the fourth place in the list of highest run-getters so far in the league. Padikkal will surely aim to replicate the show against DC by providing a flying start to his side with Finch.
In the middle-order, Kohli’s form was the major cause of concern for the RCB think-tank. However; the skipper’s knock against KKR will be a major relief. He will get support from AB de Villiers who, too, has been amongst runs after 146 from four games.
They have all-rounders Shivam Dube and Gurkeerat Singh down the order and both of them are capable of going big on any track.
In bowling, Isuru Udana has bowled well so far alongside Navdeep Saini, barring a few occasions.
Yuzvendra Chahal will once again be RCB’s go to man as the leggie has not only been economical, but has also picked up wickets whenever his team needed. Washington Sundar hasn’t been a wicket-taker but the 21-year-old has been pretty economical and is likely to get another chance against the side with some quality batsmen.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers and Parthiv Patel (w-k), Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe (w-k), 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
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shimron Hetmyer, Kagiso Rabada, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Rishabh Pant (w-k), Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Keemo Paul, Daniel Sams, Mohit Sharma, Anrich Nortje, Alex Carey (wk), Avesh Khan, Tushar Deshpande, Harshal Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav