Coming into the crucial clash, Royal Challengers Bangalore might have a psychological lead over their opponents Delhi Capitals.
A couple of weeks ago, the chances of Delhi Capitals (DC) going into the playoffs this year looked as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise. Cut to the last week of the league stage, they are in the dumps, eyeing the danger of disqualification. Their authoritative start and dominance look a thing of the distant past. The turn of events for their immediate rivals – Royal Challengers Bangalore – is not different.
RCB’s streak of losses stands only one short of DC’s four. “This is always going to happen, some (teams) peak early and some do better later. As we can see, the teams in the lower-half are turning out some really good performances now,” stated Virat Kohli after RCB’s five-wicket loss against the Mumbai Indians. Barring MI, the time for the top-placed teams has changed erratically, and they have been asked some tough questions.
Both RCB and DC must be wondering whether they peaked too early. But, isn’t “peaking early or late” melodious rhetoric; good enough only to cloak reality? There is no evidence, statistical or scientific, that proves the “peaking early” hypothesis correct. Also, how does Mumbai Indians’ peak not coming to an end? Well, early or late, the time has run out now for both the teams. Nothing in this cruelly competitive league could be taken for granted.
RCB and DC might have been two certain playoff-contenders a week ago, but come the 55th fixture of the tournament, and these two find themselves in a virtual quarterfinal. The loser of the game is not officially knocked out, although, the eyes of the loser get stuck on the last league clash between MI and SRH.
Coming into the crucial clash at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, RCB might have a psychological lead over their opponents, as they have won two out of three at this venue, as opposed to DC’s none in three. That aside, both the teams will have plenty to worry about and plenty to prove when they meet each other on Monday.
Pitch and conditions
The track at Abu Dhabi, unlike the other two venues, has not slowed as much, and the pacers have gotten enough assistance. The chasing team have won seven out of the last eight games played in Abu Dhabi. With the winters arriving, the temperatures are dropping down quickly. While that eases out a thing or two for the players, the same means an increased impact of dew. Toss, therefore, will play a significant role in the upcoming game.
Playing Combinations for DC vs RCB
Shikhar Dhawan has looked out of colour ever since he smacked his consecutive century. Further, DC have not been able to find success by pairing either Ajinkya Rahane or Prithvi Shaw with Dhawan. In the middle-order, while Shreyas Iyer and Marcus Stoinis have taken the onus on themselves multiple times, the likes of Rishabh Pant and Shimron Hetmyer have been highly unreliable.
The biggest asset for the team has been their bowling, where both Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have been breaking speed records and have gelled up together well. Although, the same could not be said about the spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin. Given the assistance offered on this track, DC might want to play Axar at the expense of the other Patel.
Probable XI- Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Harshal Patel/Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin, Praveen Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Josh Philippe has shown maturity after being roped in as a replacement of a misfiring Aaron Finch, and he would be keen to continue with the in-form opener Devdutt Padikkal. For RCB, the most major concern has been their over-reliance on the duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Both of them did not click in the last clash, and a similar story unfolded thereafter.
RCB might pick Shivam Dube ahead of Gurkeerat Singh, the former being a seam-bowling all-rounder. The management must be relieved by the availability of Navdeep Saini, who is likely to lead the attack alongside Isuru Udana.
Probable XI- Josh Philippe, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (WK), Washington Sundar, Gurkeerat Singh/Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Isuru Udana, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal
DC vs RCB Head to Head
Played- 25 | DC won- 9 | RCB won- 15 | NR- 1
Match Timings- 7:30 PM (IST), 6:00 PM (Local).
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