The story of the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Daredevils makes identical with a decent first half of the season means that a semi-final spot is there for the taking for both Bangalore and Delhi and a win for either side on Sunday night only edges that team a little bit closer.
On a roll with three successive victories, Delhi Daredevils will look to continue the winning momentum. Delhi had bounced back in the tournament with a 17-run win over Bangalore on March 25 and then won two more matches to bring their campaign back on track. They currently lie third on the points table.
The Devil Hosts:
It was a convincing win over the Rajasthan Royals the other night, a victory that saw two of the batsmen and two of the bowlers contribute towards. One must doff one’s hat to the manner in which Dinesh Karthik batted after the first couple of wickets had fallen, and virtually took the game away from Rajasthan.
The Delhi team has gone through a complete metamorphosis since those three consecutive defeats with the very much in-form unit of David Warner, Paul Collingwood, Farveez Maharoof, Andrew McDonald and Kedhar Jadhav now playing starring roles. A batting order led by Sehwag, but with no mention of the dasher is impossible, but the Delhi stalwart could use some runs and what better time to score them than in a big game.
Karthik’s innings was the difference between the two sides, and it consisted of some crisp and clean hitting. He has been doing a good job behind the wickets and this innings in front of the stumps would have only added to his confidence. In Virender Sehwag, Delhi have someone who can rip apart any bowling attack on his given day and Kedar Jadhav has also shown some spark.
Among the bowlers, Dirk Nannes’ injury has been a worry but his replacement Parvez Maharoof’s two wickets in the first over against Rajasthan showed what he can do with the new ball. The Sri Lankan can wield the willow almost as well as Andrew McDonald, and might just edge the latter out later in the series. Ashish Nehra’s fitness continues to remain a mystery, and we’ve given us predicting his return game after game. Umesh Yadav has been handy with his medium pace and Amit Mishra has been exceptional, leading the wicket-taking charts with 11 sticks.
The Royal Visitors:
After losing to Delhi, Bangalore succumbed to another lose to Chennai but Anil Kumble’s team bounced back with a six-wicket win against the bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab yesterday. Last year’s runners-up RCB have benefitted from sterling performances by top-order batsmen led by South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who is the current orange cup holder and Robin Uthappa.
A large part of their success is down to their incredible batting depth, so much so that a legend like Rahul Dravid, who was instrumental in Bangalore’s run to the final last season has just had three trips to the center circle in 8 matches.
Manish Pandey, Kevin Pietersen, Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli are the stroke makers who play around Kallis, and in most games atleast two out of the four will fire.
Anil Kumble would obviously understand the wicket like the back of his palm. He has also been bowling well in the tournament and has been extremely difficult to get away. The emergence of Vinay Kumar as a responsible and wicket-taking option has been a real plus for the side, though sadly for Roloef van der Merwe, he continues to warm the benches.
Robin Uthappa: He has been simply devastating in his strokeplay, and, is being used as a floater in the batting order, with clear instructions to destroy anything that stands in his way.
Virender Sehwag: The electric opener is overdue a big innings, and relishes the big occasion. Steyn, Kallis and the Kumars of Bangalore had better watch out.
Best: Dinesh Karthik, Virender Sehwag, David Warner
Struggling: A B de Villiers, T Dilshan (3 matches)
Best: Jacques Kallis, Robin Uthappa, Anil Kumble
Struggling: Eoin Morgan, Rahul Dravid
Delhi has a strong record against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, leading 4-1. Bangalore’s luckless streak in the inaugural season meant Delhi won both games in 2008, by 10 runs and then by 5 wickets.
In the Rainbow Nation in the second season, Delhi clinched the first encounter, chasing down 150 comfortably with 6 wickets in hand, before Bangalore romped home in the 2nd leg, chasing 135 without breaking a sweat for the loss of just 3 wickets.
Delhi won first tie between two team in the tournament beating Royals by 17-run on March 25
Looking ahead to the game against Bangalore, the advantage Delhi has is that it is a home game for them. And teams do need to adjust to the different pitches, especially ones like Feroz Shah Kotla, which has traditionally played a tad differently to most others in the country.
The toss is likely to have a huge role in determining the direction this match would take. Should Bangalore chase, they are very likely to come away with an easy win, considering the lack of quality in the Delhi bowling ranks. Batting first, however, means setting a target for Sehwag, Warner, Gambhir and co. to hunt down, a task they are likely to be well equipped to do.
In Virender Sehwag, Delhi has someone who can rip apart any bowling attack on his given day and Kedar Jadhav has also shown some spark. Among the bowlers, Dirk Nannes’ injury has been a worry but his replacement Parvez Maharoof’s two wickets in the first over against Rajasthan showed what he can do with the new ball.