The hopes of making the playoffs are paper-thin for both sides, more so for the Daredevils than Bangalore. Both Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers and Shreyas Iyer’s Daredevils have won only three matches so far, although the former have played a game less than their opponents on Saturday.
As such, victory will be a must for both teams, with a loss very likely spelling the end for their respective campaigns.
RCB’S BATSMEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The much famed batting line-up of the Royal Challengers has come up a cropper in the side’s last two outings. First, they were restricted to 127-9 in their heavy loss to Kolkata Knight Riders before they failed to chase down a target of 147 runs in their defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The side has been dependent on the contributions of AB de Villiers and Kohli when it comes to the bat and both superstars have failed to really fire in the last two defeats. The outfit will need their stalwarts to stand up to the occasion come Saturday if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
Tim Southee has helped Royal Challengers Bangalore somewhat overcome their death-overs jitters since his introduction to the playing XI. The Kiwi pacer was among the wickets in the loss against Sunrises Hyderabad, finishing with impressive figures of 3-30. With Umesh Yadav blowing hot and cold, Southee will need to shoulder the greater burden in the pace department.
For Delhi, Rishabh Pant is having the tournament of his life and his unbeaten 128 off 63 balls in the defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad was the latest in a string of impressive performances from the youngster. The 20-year-old made the likes of Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar look ordinary during his whirlwind innings and he will back himself to shine against the visitors at the same venue.
Delhi Daredevils: Prithvi Shaw, Jason Roy, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer (c), Hershal Patel, Glenn Maxwell, Vijay Shankar, Liam Plunkett, Shahbaz Nadeem, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Parthiv Patel (wk), Manan Vohra, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
Kolkata Knight Riders would do well to forget their last match against Mumbai Indians. First conceding 210-6 against the defending champions, the Knight Riders were shot out for 108 to slump to a 102-run defeat in one of the most one-sided encounters seen in the tournament.
But at least the only way from there is up. Thoroughly outplayed in every department, the Knight Riders need to get their act together after falling to their second straight defeat as they prepare for their match against Kings XI Punjab in the IPL on Saturday.
The biggest concern for them right now will be the fitness of Andre Russell. The West Indies all-rounder has been battling a hamstring injury for a while and has been struggling to complete his bowling action efficiently. In the match against Mumbai, Russell struggled to move while batting and bowling and Kolkata must decide if an unfit star player is worth the risk.
If I was #KKR I would be really worried about Andre Russell. Down on his knees after every ball.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 9, 2018
Kings XI Punjab batsman KL Rahul has been in superb form this IPL season. The opening batsman seems to be on a mission, scoring 471 runs from 10 innings at an average of almost 59 and a strike rate of 156. The only problem is he is not getting much support from other batsmen, apart from Chris Gayle.
Captain Ravi Ashwin will do well to learn from the mistakes committed in the last game against Rajasthan Royals while chasing 159.
There, Ashwin promoted himself to No3 ahead of recognised batsmen like Karun Nair and Manoj Tiwary, a move that failed. Rahul fought a lone battle, finishing unbeaten on 95 as Punjab lost by 15 runs with only one other batsman reaching double figures.
Players in focus
Punjab opener Gayle has registered two single-digit scores in his last two innings. After starting off with two fifties and a century, Gayle seems to be slowing down. Now is the time for the southpaw to take the initiative and reduce the pressure on Rahul.
Knight Riders’ foreign pace attack is a growing concern with Tom Curran failing to fire and Russell looking unable to finish his quota of four overs. It means young Indian pacer Prasidh Krishna or Shivam Mavi, whoever is selected, will have to take a greater portion of the load.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, Ravi Ashwin (c),Axar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Andrew Tye
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Rinku Singh, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Nitish Rana, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Tom Curran
The pink jersey will be worn by the players to raise awareness about cancer screening. To put the spotlight ion the issue, the Royals players also participated in a camp along with a reputed hospital on Thursday.
“Looking forward to wearing this new outfit tomorrow night and helping to raise awareness about the availability of cancer screening in Rajasthan, which can save many lives. I hope we raise a lot of money for a brilliant cause and another win would top it off. Jaipur was even lit up pink last night for this great cause,” Rajasthan all-rounder Ben Stokes wrote on Instagram.
Looking forward to wearing this new outfit tomorrow night and helping to raise awareness about the availability of cancer screening in Rajasthan, which can save many lives. I hope we raise a lot of money for a brilliant cause..and another win would top it off,Jaipur was even lit up Pink last night for this great cause
As far as team news for both sides go, Chennai Super Kings received a shot in the arm with pacer Deepak Chahar regaining fitness after injuring his hamstring. With Chahar back in action, Shardul Thakur could make way for the pacer.
The pitch at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium aided spinners in the last match where Royals trumped Kings XI Punjab by 15 runs.
Hence, spin is likely to be key once again with K Gowtham, Ish Sodhi, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja likely to be in the spotlight. Ajinkya Rahane could be tempted to bring back Shreyas Gopal into the playing XI in place of Mahipal Lomror who was disappointing with both bat and ball in the last match.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Stuart Binny, K Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Ish Sodhi, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c, wk), Dhruv Shorey, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, David Willey, Harbhajan Singh, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar