New Delhi: Having finally broken the voodoo at home, Delhi Capitals will start the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore as favourites when the two teams clash at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday. Both teams have been on a winning streak in recent times, but the home team finally managing to adapt to the wickets at the Kotla gives them a slight edge.
While Delhi have won their last two games against Kings XI Punjab at home and against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur, Royal Challengers have won four out of their last five games. In their last game against KXIP, they were 81 for four at one stage before making a brilliant comeback through AB de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis.
The spirit is high in the RCB camp and it’s pertinent to remember that their captain has grown up playing at the Kotla and Virat Kohli will definitely share his knowledge with the rest of the team. In the bowling department as well, there is coach Ashish Nehra who knows exactly the areas to focus on and how to use the variety balls to fox opposition batsmen on the low and slow Kotla wicket.
Delhi will be hoping that their strokemakers at the top of the line-up show some restraint and don’t try and hit every ball out of the park. Shikhar Dhawan has been brilliant at the top and has ensured that he makes full use of the power play overs. On the other hand, someone like Rishabh Pant has also mixed caution with aggression to guide the batting in the middle overs before unleashing himself on the opposition bowlers at the death.
Bowling is a bit of a worry for both the teams. While Kagiso Rabada has been exceptional for Delhi through the tournament, the same cannot be said of the other bowlers in the team. Sandeep Lamichhane though did impress in the last game against KXIP, but Ricky Ponting’s men will need all the bowlers to come together and perform in unison if they are to stop the RCB batting which has started to find form in recent times.
Kohli has already made it clear that the boys are looking to enjoy themselves after six consecutive losses this season and will express themselves freely on the pitch. Delhi, on the other hand, have 14 points from 11 games and look good to be qualifying for the play-offs for the first time in quite a few seasons.
In the other game of the day, in-form Mumbai Indians will look to cement their place in the play-offs by knocking a demoralised Kolkata Knight Riders out of the competition when the two sides meet at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
Mumbai are placed second in the table with 14 points from 11 games. Their comprehensive 46-run victory over table-toppers Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Friday night, helped them inch closer to a last-four berth with three matches remaining.
Incidentally, Mumbai will play KKR twice in the space of one week.
The Rohit Sharma-led side have been KKR’s nemesis ever since the tournament began, racking up a mammoth 18 wins to KKR’s five in 23 meetings.