IPL 2020: Faltering Delhi and Bangalore fight it out with everything on the line

Delhi Capitals are in a do or die scene when they face Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium
Winner goes through and gets two shots at a spot in the final of IPL
Winner goes through and gets two shots at a spot in the final of IPLImage source: Twitter

Up until a week ago, Delhi Capitals (DC) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had almost assured themselves a playoff berth, but after 4 and 3 losses respectively, they are facing the threat of a probable elimination.

The winner of today’s clash will strike gold and finish in the top two, alongside getting back to winning ways, but the loser would be forced to string their hopes on tomorrow’s game between Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad or avoid a loss sizeable enough for their NRR to fall below that of Kolkata Knight Riders.

Both RCB and DC did exceptionally well in the first half of the tournament, but then suddenly seemed to have forgotten how to get over the line.

For Delhi Capitals, the opening combination has become a problem as Shikhar Dhawan has followed his consecutive centuries with consecutive ducks. Prithvi Shaw hasn’t had a good season with the bat, and Ajinkya Rahane hasn’t done well to replace him in the limited opportunities he has had either. After 26 games, Kagiso Rabada has gone wicketless for two games in a row.

What would worry the DC setup more is that the two losses have been demoralizing ones, and they are suddenly struggling to find what can be called their best eleven.

Things aren’t all too different for Virat Kohli’s RCB. The skipper himself, alongside Ab de Villiers, had a major role to play in the franchisee’s success. Their bowling setup had clicked too, with Chris Morris’ inclusion and Isuru Udana doing well. But in the past few days, they have again gone the route of experimenting, as if the losing had unsettled their minds.

For Delhi Capitals, it is highly likely that Axar Patel, who has been an unsung hero for the team, would walk back into the team. Pravin Dubey had a chance in the eleven, but the score DC put up batting first had already killed that opportunity. Axar, alongside being economical with the ball and getting crucial wickets, has also provided some important runs on several occasions.

Josh Phillipe has done well to replace Aaron Finch at the top, but RCB would look at Shivam Dube as an all-round option, replacing Gurkeerat Singh. With enough bowling options available, Virat Kohli also might look at Moeen Ali to strengthen the middle order batting, albeit at the cost of a proper bowler in Udana.

Likely 11s:

DC: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Harshal Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Pravin Dubey/Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Anrich Nortje

RCB: Devdutt Padikkal, Josh Philippe, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Washington Sundar, Gurkeerat Singh/Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Isuru Udana/Moeen Ali, Mohammad Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini

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