IPL 2019: RCB in desperate fight for survival as Delhi Capitals look to seal play-off berth

Ashish Peter 27/04/2019
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Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer will lock horns. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

With five victories from their last six 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) outings, it is safe to say that Delhi Capitals are the in-form team at the moment.

However, the next opponents for the young guns of Delhi are a team in similarly rich vein of form as they scramble desperately to keep their slim play-off ambitions alive.

Having started the season with six straight losses, Royal Challengers Bangalore are still hanging by a thread ahead of their visit to Delhi with four victories coming in their last five matches.

As such, there is little to separate the two sides when it comes to form and momentum ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster meeting at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.

DELHI ON A HIGH BUT STILL NOT OUT OF THE WOODS

Having finished as the wooden-spoon holders in the 2018 edition, it has been some turnaround from the rejigged Delhi Capitals with the team now potentially just one victory away from sealing a play-off berth.

Currently sitting in third and behind Mumbai Indians only on net run-rate, Delhi will be aiming for a strong finish but they need to be wary that things could change fast.

Three defeats in their remaining league matches could still see them drop out of the play-off race and as such, they will need to ensure that they don’t take their foot off the gas just yet.

BANGALORE IN A FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL

While Delhi are searching for that one win which will all but confirm a play-off qualification, RCB are in a desperate battle to just survive. Having looked down and out at the halfway stage, Virat Kohli’s men have done extremely well to stay alive for another round and they have done it the hard way too.

All four of Bangalore’s victories have gone down to the wire with the side showing immense mental fortitude to ultimately finish on the right side of the result. With Kohli’s men still needing to win each of their three remaining games to have any shot at the play-offs, the difficulty of the task ahead for Bangalore has just gone up by a degree.

They have lost the services of veteran South Africa pacer Dale Steyn after just two games and his early wickets in the powerplay overs will be a serious miss. Couple it with the departures of all-rounder Moeen Ali back to England and RCB are starting to look a little light for the remainder of the campaign.

RCB’S FEROZ SHAH KOTLA STRONGHOLD

While Delhi did manage to get the better of RCB in the reverse-fixture earlier this season at Bengaluru, their record at home against their opponents isn’t too flattering.

In the past eight meetings between the two sides at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, it has been RCB who have come out on top on each occasion. The last time Delhi managed to get the better of Bangalore in their own backyard was all the way back in the 2010 edition when Paul Collingwood’s unbeaten 75 paved the way for a 37-run win.

LIKELY XIs

Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Sherfane Rutherford, Colin Ingram, Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (c), Parthiv Patel (wk), AB de Villiers, Marcus Stoinis, Colin de Grandhomme, Akshdeep Nath, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini.

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IPL 2019 LIVE: Rajasthan Royals in must win situation vs Sunrisers Hyderabad

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Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

Rajasthan Royals must win at any cost to keep their 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) play-off hopes alive as they lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad at Jaipur.

Steve Smith’s men are currently two points behind SRH in the league standings and must win all three of their remaining encounters to have any chance of making the top-four.

Hyderabad, on the other hand, currently occupy the fourth and final play-off spot and will be hoping to cement that position with a win over the Royals.

Can Rajasthan add a further twist in the race for the play-off spots or will SRH steal a march on KXIP with a win? Find out by following the ball-by-ball action from Jaipur below.

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IPL 2019: Rohit Sharma on Mumbai's win over CSK - Dhoni's absence was a massive boost

Sudhir Gupta 26/04/2019
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Rayudu kept wickets for CSK in Dhoni's absence. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Having registered his maiden half-century of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign in Mumbai Indians’ 46-run win over Chennai Super Kings, skipper Rohit Sharma has revealed that he was never under worried about his form.

The India opening batsman had endured an indifferent campaign prior to Friday’s clash against Chennai with no half-century to show for in 10 matches.

That drought finally came to an end on a spinning Chepauk pitch with Rohit’s 48-ball 67 helping the visitors post a challenging 155-4 after batting first. It was the first IPL fifty in over a year for the right-hander and it helped his side take another big step towards securing a play-off berth.

“Satisfying innings, mine,” Rohit said after collecting the man-of-the-match award.

“I was getting 30s and 40s but not getting half-centuries. At no point was I worried about my form because I was hitting the ball well.

“I knew the day will come, and I guess today was the day.”

Chennai, on the other hand, had to make do without the services of MS Dhoni who missed the clash due to a fever. Led by stand-in skipper Suresh Raina, the hosts fell to their first home defeat in six attempts in the 2019 campaign while also being bowled out for their lowest ever IPL total (109) at the Chepauk stadium.

“It was a massive boost that MSD wasn’t around because his presence does a lot for their team,” Rohit stated on the veteran’s absence.

“When you don’t have Dhoni when they’re chasing the score, then it becomes difficult for them. I’m sure their presence was missed by CSK. But he was sick, it’s not in his control either. But as I said, coming here and winning here isn’t supposed to be easy,” he added.

The win helped Mumbai to climb to second spot in the IPL table with 14 points from 11 games and they are now just two points behind league leaders CSK whose play-off qualification remains on hold.

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