IPL 2019 Match Preview: M46 – DC VS RCB: A mid-season run of five wins in six matches has put the unfancied Delhi Capitals – one of only three teams yet to win the title – on the cusp of playoff qualification.
They’ve had pitch woes at home, which an excellent away record – the best in the league at this point of 5 wins in 6 games – has offset to a great extent. But even the Kotla lull was overcome a week ago, when they defeated Kings XI Punjab in quite a comfortable manner, to take their first points at home since winning a thrilling Super Over clash on March 30.
It was a sign that they’d come a long way since their dramatic collapse in the reverse fixture in Mohali on April 1, where it once again felt like Delhi’s season was about to taper away in the most crucial phase of the tournament. They now head into Sunday’s fixture with the cushion of having a four-point gap between them and the chasing pack for top-four spots, and the chance to consolidate further and take a stab at securing a top-two finish.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, DC’s opponents for Sunday, arrive with a mini-streak of their own. Virat Kohli has avoided talking about sneaking in late into the playoffs and has repeated ‘we’re here to enjoy ourselves and have fun’ on loop since the ignominious six straight defeats at the start of their campaign.
But with the way the league is currently poised, even he knows there remains a window of opportunity, albeit a minuscule one, for RCB to feature in the playoffs this season. The think-tank at this point will perhaps be working overtime to ascertain all kinds of permutations and combinations that can put RCB through, but the most straightforward option for Kohli & Co. would be to double their three-match streak.
That though, will require them to cross a big hurdle in Delhi first up, where their batsmen will have to overcome the challenge posed by the highest wicket-taker in the league so far – Kagiso Rabada – and then have their flimsy bowling attack go up against one of the top-heavy sides in the tournament in a venue with short boundaries.
When: Delhi Capitals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 4 PM IST
Where: Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi
What to expect: A hot and hazy evening with temperatures touching 43 degrees at the start of the game. Dew at this venue has been notoriously inconsistent, showing up in some fixtures and staying away in some. With Sunday’s game being the first 4 pm fixture at the venue, captains will be left with more guess work to do and punts to take.
The hosts return after a five-day break since beating Rajasthan Royals and enhancing their position in the top half of the points table. It was also a game where Rishabh Pant roared back to form after having endured a dip since his performance at the Wankhede in his team’s season opener.
Capitals have been flexible with their team selections, making picks based on the pitches they’ve played on. For instance, leggie Sandeep Lamichhane played in their last home game – against KXIP on April 20 – where he picked up three wickets, but made way for Chris Morris just two days later in Jaipur. The Nepal youngster might once again feature on Sunday, with the Kotla wicket continuing to be on the slower side and assisting spin.
Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Colin Ingram, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Sherfane Rutherford, Chris Morris/Sandeep Lamichhane, Axar Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB have a decision on their hands. Moeen Ali’s exit means they will have to either bring back Shimron Hetmyer – who doesn’t offer a bowling cushion – at No.4 or 5, or turn to all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme. If Hetmyer is preferred, RCB could look at even bringing back Shivam Dube to add to their bowling options.
With the number of left-handers in the DC line-up, Washington Sundar should keep his spot ahead of Pawan Negi, despite being rendered ineffective in his first outing of the season by KXIP’s Nicholas Pooran, who also bats left-handed. The sluggishness in the Delhi wicket can suit the Tamil Nadu spinner, should Kohli back him for another game.
Probable XI: Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube/Akshdeep Nath, Marcus Stoinis, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee
Did you know:
– Delhi’s last win against RCB at home came in 2010. RCB won all the six head-to-head at the Kotla since.
– Kohli is the highest run getter against Delhi in IPL, scoring 802 runs at an average of 66.83.
– Kagiso Rabada needs three more wickets to go past Morne Morkel to claim Delhi’s record for most wickets in an IPL season.