Royal Challengers Bangalore took another step towards early elimination from IPL 2019 after crashing to their sixth straight defeat, this time going down by four wickets to Delhi Capitals at home on Sunday.
In perfect batting conditions, RCB failed to make their presence felt once again. Delhi pace ace Kagiso Rabada sliced through the RCB batting on a docile pitch, using slower ones and cross seam deliveries to finish with 4-21 as Bangalore could only post 149-8.
A target of 150 was at least 25 runs below par and it showed in the chase as Delhi were barely troubled as a captain’s knock by Shreyas Iyer (67 off 50) took them home with four wickets in hand, despite a late wobble.
Bangalore have now lost the first six games of the season, becoming only the second team in the tournament’s history to have such a horror start after Delhi Daredevils did so in 2013.
Bangalore are flirting with early elimination as seven defeats is generally the most a team can afford in the playoff race.
South African quick Rabada has been nearly unhittable in the ongoing IPL, going for more than 32 runs just once in five games before Sunday. And on Sunday, it was his turn to get among the wickets to show for all that accurate and quick bowling.
Rabada started things off by deceiving AB de Villiers with a split finger slower ball to have the star batsman caught at mid on, who had to pedal back. Next up was the big fish Virat Kohli, who was looking to change gears after reaching 41 off 32 balls. A cross seam ball hit Kohli’s drive high on the bat and was pouched at the long on fence.
Akshdeep Nath and Pawan Negi could only nick the quick behind as Rabada finished with super figures of 4-21.
LAMICHHANE’S OFF DAY
Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane is one of the premier T20 bowlers in the world. But he also has the propensity to leak runs. Sunday was one such day as he was taken to the cleaners, hit for four sixes as he conceded 46 from his four overs.
However, he did redeem himself by comprehensively beating Moeen Ali to have the Englishman stumped.
RCB MAKE A MESS OF IT
Defending a target of 150 required Bangalore to snap up every little chance that came their way. After getting opener Shikhar Dhawan caught at point third ball of the chase, RCB made the biggest mistake of the game when wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel failed to hold on to an edge offered by Iyer off Tim Southee.
Iyer was on four at that time and made Royal Challengers pay for that lapse. It helped that the run rate was not too demanding as he forged a match-winning stand of 68 with Prithi Shaw.
Shaw provided the moment of the match when he dispatched Southee for five successive boundaries, including a leg bye, to break the hosts’ spirit.
Fast bowler Navdeep Saini’s bowling was the only bright spot for Kohli as the pacer consistently clocked over 150kphs throughout his four-over spell to end with figures of 2-24. However, Kohli will rue the dropped chance in the first over, which could have made things interesting as Delhi had a mini collapse right at the end, losing three wickets for two runs.
But the target was too small and Bangalore too dispirited to challenge Delhi.
Having started their campaign with three straight defeats, Rajasthan got back to winning ways with a morale-boosting win over Royal Challengers Bangalore at Jaipur a couple of days earlier.
Kolkata, on the other hand, have only been beaten once in their five games so far and that came via a super over against Delhi Capitals.
Will Andre Russell fire Kolkata to another victory or will Rajasthan make it two wins in a row at Jaipur? Find out by following the ball-by-ball updates from the clash below.
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Chris Gayle – Kings XI Punjab (10.5 credits)
This is a tough one to call between Chris Gayle and David Warner but it is the former who gets the nod due to the fact that he will be batting on his home track.
The explosive West Indies opener looked in excellent touch at the start of the campaign before an injury saw him miss out on Punjab’s win over Delhi Capitals.
Gayle was dismissed for just five on his return from injury on Saturday and he will be desperate to get back into the swing of things at Mohali.
If the Jamaican can rediscover the form he showed in Punjab’s campaign opener against Rajasthan Royals where he smashed a quick-fire 79, then it could be raining sixes on Monday.
Rashid Khan – Sunrisers Hyderabad (9.5 credits)
Both teams have strong bowling units at their disposal but look no further than the No1 ranked bowler in the format.
Rashid Khan might have only picked up four wickets in five appearances so far this season but they have come at an excellent economy-rate of six runs an over.
No batsman has been able to truly get on top of the Afghan leg-spinner with several of them adopting a cautious approach against him. Should a situation arise where Punjab’s batsmen are forced to up the ante against Rashid, expect the wily wrist-spinner to pick up wickets in abundance.
Mohammad Nabi – Sunrisers Hyderabad (8.5 credits)
The Afghanistan all-rounder only made two appearances over the course of the entire 2018 edition, but he has already featured thrice in the current campaign and with good reason.
Nabi has been nothing short of sensational with the ball in hand with his off-spin turning out to be a sure-shot wicket-taking option in the powerplay for Hyderabad.
The veteran has already picked up seven wickets in his three appearances this season including a four-wicket haul against Bangalore. What’s even better is that Nabi’s wickets have come at a mind-boggling economy-rate of just 3.75.
The Afghanistan man can be expected to keep up his wicket-taking exploits and any runs he scores with the bat will be a bonus.
Jonny Bairstow – Sunrisers Hyderabad (9.5 credits)
Both teams have wicketkeeper-batsmen who are looking good currently but it would be foolish to look beyond Sunrisers’ Jonny Bairstow. The England batsman has been exceptional in what is his maiden IPL campaign with 262 runs from five innings at an average greater than 52 and a strike-rate of nearly 169.
The 29-year-old has even started to outdo the in-form Warner in recent matches while his 114-run knock against Bangalore is arguably the best innings of the tournament so far.
With Sunrisers’ excellent bowling unit, Bairstow has been kept busy behind the stumps as well and one can expect a fair few points in that aspect to go with his batting contributions.
CAPTAIN – Jonny Bairstow
VICE CAPTAIN – Mohammad Nabi