Dubai: It was a matter of time before Virat Kohli got back to runs again on Saturday - and it has put Royal Challengers Bangalore in a more relaxed frame of mind as they take on the other in-form team, Delhi Capitals, in Dubai on Monday.
A day after the two table toppers won their respective matches in the first double header of IPL 2020 (Delhi is on top on net run-rate though both have won three of their four matches), they will be squaring off at the Dubai International Stadium, which had offered the bowlers something to play for so far.
The Indian captain who managed scores of 14, 1, 3 in the first three games, decided to spend more time on the crease against Rajasthan Royals in Abu Dhabi before opening out to smash an unbeaten 72 in their eight-wicket victory.
“It’s a funny game you know. It’s an amazing game,” the India captain said after the match. “I was telling Jos (Buttler) when I was batting in there, ‘I love this game and I hate it too’.
“When you play so much of cricket, you do feel like at times you’re not in control of what you want to do ... But when the team’s doing well, you feel like ‘OK, I’ve got some more space to figure out how I want to go about applying my kind of batting for the benefit of the team’.”
Mwanwhile in Sharjah, Delhi skipper Shreyas Iyer (88 not out off 38 balls) again showed his class after Prithvi Shaw’s (66) opening act as they piled up a record total to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 18 runs.
While Shaw has so far looked quite in control at the top of the order for Capitals, senior pro Shikhar Dhawan has not been able to convert his starts so far.
Rishabh Pant, meanwhile, came to his own in the smaller venue with a quickfire 17-ball 38 against KKR.
There is, however, a growing call to give senior batsman Ajinkya Rahane a break in place of Shimron Hetmyer at No.5 as the West Indian has failed to fire so far.
Talking about their next game, Delhi paceman Anrich Nortje told the team website he believes that they are good enough to outsmart any team. “It’s going to be a good challenge. They have got a pretty good line-up and have some big names. But I think we have got a good team as well and the guys have been training really well. If we just execute our skills, perform the way we have been, I think it’s going to be a very good game, and I’m sure we can outskill them,” he signed off.
Delhi go into the match with an unfavourable head-to-head statistic - with them having won only eight out of their 23 meetings, two of which came last season. It will be interesting to see who has the last laugh on Monday.
Catch the match
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Capitals
Venue: Dubai International Stadium
Start: 6.30 pm
Live telecast on Bein Sports