Aiming to shrug off their recent woes, two dominant sides-- Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)-- are set to lock horns at Abu Dhabi while eyeing to secure a top-two finish in the points table.
Both the sides were looking like favourites to clinch the trophy this year, at least in the first half of the tournament. However, a slump in their winning record has led to a 'virtual knockout' situation. The loser of the contest can still qualify for playoffs but it will depend on the performance of other teams. Hoping to join Mumbai Indians (MI) up top, both teams will work their fingers to the bone to book playoffs berth.
Virat Kohli's men, at one point, were basking in form, looking strong in their heist to finally win maiden IPL trophy. However, three on the trot has reignited the debate on the team's dependency on their two main pillars-- skipper Kohli and AB de Villiers. While Devdutt Padikkal has delivered with his bat up top, RCB are yet to find a consistent performer. In their last game against SunRisers Hyderabad, RCB's batting unit had managed to amass a meagre 120-run total on the scoreboard, resulting in a five-wicket drubbing for Kohli's troops.
Similar to RCB, the Delhi side has also experienced a dramatic fall in their last four games. Struggling to find a winning combination, DC have lost four wins on the trot to fall in this tricky situation in their last league stage game.
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. 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.
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
The Teams (From):
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.
The match starts at 7:30 pm IST
(With PTI Inputs)